They are Catholic, secular or even divorced, but they all have one thing in common: seven women announced on Wednesday their candidacy for various functions within the Catholic Church. They gave the apostolic nunciature in France a personal file in which they set out their motivations for becoming bishop, nuncio, parish priest, deacon or even lay preacher.
This approach is intended above all to be symbolic, with the objective of moving the lines within the Catholic Church, because “these various functions are prohibited to them”, specifies the collective “All apostles!” who supports these nominations. These functions are in fact subject to ordination (bishop, parish priest, deacon, nuncio, etc.) and therefore reserved for men.
The shock of Anne Soupa’s candidacy in Lyon
These seven candidatures echo that, last May, of Anne Soupa to succeed Cardinal Barbarin to the office of Archbishop of Lyon. At 73 years of age, this committed theologian is also one of the founders of the “All Apostles!” Collective. President of the Catholic Conference of the Baptized of France and of the Committee of the Skirt, she then explained that she wanted to highlight “the invisibility in which women are held in the Catholic Church”. A hitherto unprecedented approach.
For her action to have real weight, she could not remain isolated. “If this candidacy had remained unique, one would have thought that it was only the act of one person. We wanted to show that it resonated with several Catholic women, that she was not the only one”, explains Alix Bayle, co-founder of the collective to our colleagues from L’Obs.
After the shock caused by Anne Soupa’s candidacy for the Archdiocese of Lyon on May 25, these women also want to make their vocation public. “
Manifesto of the collective “All Apostles!”
“A huge scandal”
The members of the collective also published a manifesto. They consider that “the absence of women in a position of responsibility” within the Church “constitutes an immense scandal as much as a counter-testimony of the Church”. “In order for it to be able to accomplish its mission, the Church must allow women access to the various ordained ministries as well as to the high responsibilities of the institution”, continues the manifesto.
They did not choose the day of application by chance. This Wednesday, July 22 celebrates Mary of Magdala (Mary Magdalene), designated by Catholic tradition as “Apostle of the Apostles” having been the first witness to the resurrection of Christ on Easter morning.
A meeting with the apostolic nuncio?
The candidates are now asking to be heard by Celestino Migliore, apostolic nuncio of France. But, as with the candidacy of Anne Soupa, they may never receive an official response from the ecclesial institution. Not enough to discourage the collective: “We know that perseverance in faith and action will bear fruit in places that we do not yet dare to hope for”, they write at the end of the manifesto.
The seven candidates: Sylvaine Landrivon (bishop in Lyon), Laurence de Bourbon-Parme (lay preacher), Claire Conan-Vrinat (deacon), Loan Rocher (deacon), Marie-Automne Thepot (deacon), Christina Moreira (pastor) and Hélène Pichon (nuncio).