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Just Sayin': Vatican synod on the Amazon should let women vote

Pope Francis presides in the Vatican gardens at

Pope Francis presides in the Vatican gardens at a celebration for the feast of St. Francis, to which the Amazon Synod is consecrated, and where a holm oak tree is planted in Assisi, at the Vatican City on Friday. Credit: EPA-EFE/Shutterstock/MAURIZIO BRAMBATTI

The Vatican opens a three-week synod of bishops on Sunday to discuss the Catholic Church in the Amazon. Delegates will issue a report after discussing issues that include how to give a greater voice to people in the Amazon, confront environmental devastation and deal with a shortage of priests in the region.

Most of the 185 voting participants will be ordained men. At least one non-ordained delegate, a religious brother, will be allowed to vote. However, nuns, also called women religious, can attend but not vote. The rationale is that women cannot be ordained and therefore cannot vote in a synod of bishops. However, this eliminates women from virtually every meaningful aspect of church governance. This is blatant discrimination.

How pathetic that perhaps the most famous protector of the rainforest, the American-born Sister Dorothy Stang, martyred in 2005 in Brazil because she defended the Amazon and its people, would not have been allowed a vote in this synod.

As a committed Catholic woman, I am heartbroken and angry. I don’t know how much more I can take. I would hate to have the only vote I am allowed in this church to be with my feet.

Is anyone in the hierarchy listening? Does anyone care? Bishop John Barres, what do you say?

Marion Boden,

  Hampton Bays


Name changes make it hard to get a Real ID

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles has refused to issue my wife a Real ID license, which will be necessary to board domestic airline flights as of October 2020.

Born in 1946 in postwar Germany to Polish-born concentration camp survivors, my wife’s parents brought her to the United States in 1948 as a 2-year-old immigrant. She still has her original green card, and she automatically became a U.S. citizen when her parents were naturalized in 1955.

Her married name, Laura Siegelman, differs from her maiden name, Laura Diamant. Her 1948 green card carried the Polish version of her name, Laja Jochweta Diamant, which differs from her German birth certificate name, Laja Jochweta Wildenberg (the latter is her mother’s maiden name).

The DMV declined to issue my wife the Real ID license because of the differences in her name. Now, we are reaching out to a local elected official for help.

How many other New Yorkers whose names have changed in the course of their lives will find themselves in the same boat before next October?

Richard Siegelman,