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WORLD Pope officially empowers women to hold roles in Mass

Pope Francis on Monday changed church law to open up certain roles to women at Mass, formalizing a practice that has already been in place in many Catholic communities around the world.

The change means, for example, that women are now officially allowed to read Biblical passages in the role of lector and help carry out the service as an acolyte.

Cannon law had previously only spoken of “male laity” in those positions. Even so, women have been taking on tasks such as distributing communion and reciting readings for years.

The Catholic Church is still opposed to women being ordained as priests.

Giving both sexes the opportunity to exercise the office of acolyte and lector increases the recognition of the valuable contribution made by so many lay people, including women, the pope wrote in a letter to the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Luis Ladaria.

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