The Vatican announced on Wednesday that women and lay people will be able to vote in the next general assembly of bishops, a symbolic change for the Catholic Church. The next phase of the global consultation on the future of the Church will take place in October in Rome, and for the first time, the right to cast ballots will not be reserved to male clerics. 70 people will also be chosen to take part, who represent various groupings of the faithful of the People of God. The rules state that 50% of them should be women and that the presence of young people should be emphasised.
The consultation on the future of the Church is looking at major issues, from the handling of sex abuse cases and the role of women to the rights of remarried divorcees. Since his election in 2013, Pope Francis has progressively expanded the roles of lay people and women.