Congolese Theologian Advocates for Formal Education of Women in Church, Creation of “spaces for them to be empowered”

Credit: ACI Africa

A female Theologian from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is advocating for formal education of women if they have to actively participate in the decision-making processes of the Church like their male counterparts in “higher positions in the Church”.

In an interview with ACI Africa on the sidelines of the first of the two-phase convention bringing together African professionals in the fields of theology and pastoral ministry to reflect on the outcomes of the first session of the multi-year Synod on Synodality that took place 4-29 October 2023 in Rome, Léocadie Lushombo recognized women as “the backbone of the Church” and “the pillar of the Church”, with an enduring presence.

“Women are taking care of the church, contributing in cleaning, preparing for Masses, taking care of the sick, and going around and getting involved in our local communities,” Lushombo told ACI Africa during the Friday, June 21 interview.

Léocadie Lushombo. Credit: ACI Africa

The Congolese member of the Teresian Association underscored the need to women “to be involved in decision-making processes in the Church.”


“This is not just for power, because participating in decision-making processes in the Church isn't a question of power; it’s a question of journeying together in thinking,” she said.

Although women are the majority in the Church, she lamented that they are relegated to insignificant tasks regardless of their education level. “We have more men in those instances where decisions are being made,” she noted.

Credit: ACI Africa

To get women on decision-making tables, the lecturer at Santa Clara University in California, U.S., said, “we need to change our way of educating women so that not only women.”

“Women who learn their entire life that they are not supposed to be where men are making decisions, how do you want them to be there? The lack of education makes women to be excluded from higher positions in the Church,” she said.

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She continued, “There are many women who are not yet educated. The Church needs to create spaces for them to be empowered.”

Credit: ACI Africa

“This is what synodality is doing; that is, creating space where we can listen to each other, where we can reaffirm our identity,” the Congolese theologian told ACI Africa, adding that men too need to be educated for them “to understand that God created us equal.”

“We need a total transformation so that we can listen to each other equally, because that is what Pope Francis has done with the Synod on Synodality, listening to the views and voices of all,” she said. 

According to her, “We are supposed to perpetuate that practice in our local communities and in so doing we will be a beautiful Church because God needs us all, so no one should be excluded.”


Credit: ACI Africa

“When you participate, whether you are mother, father or children, it is the family that is participating in the construction of the Church, and that is the point of involving women,” Lushombo said.

Lushombo challenged members of the Clergy, “who, up to now have the responsibility of gathering and guiding the people of God, to be more inclusive of those voices that have not been heard.”