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They referred to as for feminine management on the Vatican. They have been arrested.

VATICAN CITY (RNS) — The seven girls stood outdoors the gates of the Vatican wearing cardinal purple, every carrying a scarlet parasol emblazoned with a phrase of feminine empowerment. “Ordain Girls.” “Reform Means Girls.” “It’s Reigning Males.” They have been there to greet the 197 cardinals arriving Monday morning (Aug. 29) for a extremely anticipated dialogue with the pope — and to protest the absence of ladies within the assembly.

As the boys in purple filed previous, the ladies in purple handed them pamphlets and urged them “to recollect your sisters who stay outdoors.”

About quarter-hour later, the delegation of seven girls from Women’s Ordination Worldwide have been approached by the police and later taken to a close-by police station the place they have been held for 3 hours.

“It reveals how harmful girls might be thought of outdoors the Vatican,” Kate McElwee, one of many girls arrested and the director of Women’s Ordination Conference, instructed Faith Information Service over the telephone on Tuesday.

The cardinals have been gathering to take part in a consistory, a closed-door assembly convened by Pope Francis to debate adjustments he made in March to his apostolic structure “Preadicate Evangelium” (Preach the Gospel), that amongst different issues allows laypeople, including women, to occupy Vatican leadership roles traditionally reserved for clergy.

Pope Francis has said that female ordination is “off the table,” however he created two commissions to review the potential of opening the diaconate to girls, which might enable them to preside over some providers however to not administer Mass or carry out sacraments. The experiences from the commissions haven’t been revealed.

Francis has pushed for higher feminine participation within the church by appointing women to a number of influential Vatican leadership roles, together with the primary feminine undersecretary of the Vatican division overseeing the summit of bishops.

When journalists started interviewing the group and taking pictures of the cardinals with the open parasols seen behind them, a police automotive flashed its lights on the girls, stated Miriam Duignan, a spokesperson for the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research and Girls’s Ordination Worldwide.

Protesters maintain an umbrella bearing a slogan studying “Sexism is a Cardinal Sin,” as cardinals meet on the Vatican to debate Pope Francis’ apostolic structure reforming the Vatican forms, Aug. 29, 2022. (AP Picture/Gregorio Borgia)

Duignan, who was carrying a parasol studying “Sexism is a Cardinal Sin,” stated she was requested to depart as she was being interviewed. The law enforcement officials started shifting the seven girls towards St. Peter’s colonnade and positioned a barricade round them utilizing picket panels.

The Italian police didn’t reply to request for remark in time for publication.

The ladies have been saved there for one hour, Duignan stated, the place they have been clearly seen by the cardinals getting into the Vatican. “You may’t ignore seven girls wearing purple, penned in and surrounded by 20 law enforcement officials,” she instructed RNS over the telephone on Tuesday. One cardinal walked up and acknowledged what was occurring however didn’t say something to the police, she stated, including that the others merely walked by.

McElwee stated she knew being arrested was a chance — the ladies have had their brushes with Italian law enforcement officials earlier than — and though she felt “shaken by the expertise,” she hopes “it can rally extra individuals to our trigger as a result of it reveals that even simply seven girls can have a huge effect on the dialog.”

In response to Duignan, police stated the ladies wanted to get a allow subsequent time. However she stated they’ve tried that earlier than, and the instances they weren’t denied permits outright, they have been compelled to protest removed from the Vatican the place they went unheard and unseen.


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The ladies have been launched pending costs simply because the cardinals, having completed their morning discussions, made their means towards lunch. 

“It’s 197 males speaking about the way forward for the church, by no means mentioning girls, after which seven girls — fully innocent, carrying delicate little paper parasols — are so threatening to them that they needed to wrongfully imprison us, humiliate us and attempt to intimidate us to by no means do it once more,” Duignan stated.

“The fact is that we’re a menace to the established order,” McElwee stated.


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