The theologian Anne Soupa, candidate for the Archbishopric of Lyon to succeed Bishop Philippe Barbarin. - OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE / AFP

A woman Archbishop of Lyon to succeed Bishop Philippe Barbarin? This is the intention of Anne Soupa, a 73-year-old theologian. "The place of women is not what it should be in 2020. It is a scandal to allow the invisibility of women in the Church to continue," she told AFP.

Since confinement, this Parisian woman lives with her husband in her house in Vallouise-Pelvoux (Hautes-Alpes), a village at the foot of the majestic Ecrins massif. “I should never have applied. Catholic custom is to wait for someone to call you. But no one will ever call me. So women have to break this custom. ”

Tradition has it that the Pope chooses from names proposed by the Apostolic Nuncio, the Ambassador of the Holy See in Paris.

"The weakness of spiritual reflection" of many bishops

This candidacy, continues this activist with a powerful faith, “it is not a buffoonery, but an outstretched hand. It has two objects: first, to say that the place of women is not what it should be in a society that has emancipated women, while the Church has done nothing for that. And show that the governance of the Church is no longer adapted to the modern period ”.

"I am not an arrow", advances modestly this graduate of Sciences Po, holder of a master's degree in law and a doctoral qualification in theology, "but I would do better, I think, than many bishops when I see the weakness of their spiritual reflection… ”.

Mother of four

A former journalist, but also an experienced essayist and biblist, is Anne Soupa a feminist? “I'm not afraid of the title of feminist, but I hate feminism that excludes men. What I stand for is equality ”.

“In the Catholic Church there is a structural invisibility of women […], a glass ceiling. Women cannot access the dominant responsibilities of their own Church. It is almost a proletarian situation, "deplores this military daughter, mother of four children and grandmother of eight grandchildren, who spent her childhood in Germany and Morocco.

"Already charred" by filing a complaint against Mgr Vingt-Trois

Before writing to Nonce, “I was afraid; I had nightmares, with wolves with red eyes! », She confides, smiling. But "I got started. In any case, I have already been charred with the creation of the Skirt Committee ”after sexist remarks by Mgr André Vingt-Trois in 2008. This committee, of which she is president, campaigns for a fair recognition of women within the Church.

At the time, the Archbishop of Paris had launched "the whole thing is not to have a skirt, it is to have something in your head". With fifteen other women, Anne Soupa then brought a complaint before the Court of Officiality. “I had touched on the legitimacy of the Church, it is as if I had cut off the head of Louis XVI! ", She exclaims.

In the Bible, "there is no chosen sex"

Why apply to Lyon? “Because this is where the bankruptcy of governance became visible. This is where we found that a Church, a very beautiful Church, which has a very strong dynamism and an obvious social charisma, well, this Church has stumbled upon the question of sexual abuse ”.

Our Religion File

In the Bible, she underlines again, "there is no chosen sex, it is a deep error". “It is unworthy of my Church, which I love, to think that half of humanity should be treated like this. Many women are also convinced that they are not competent. For their part, it is a lack of recognition of their dignity. Why should they be unworthy? She said, inviting other women "to apply for positions of responsibility" in the Church.

A campaign to support Anne Soupa's approach has already collected more than 1,500 signatures online. On the other hand, she specifies, "radio silence" on the side of the hierarchy of the Church ...


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  • Religion
  • gender equality
  • Women
  • Catholicism
  • Lyon
  • Cardinal Barbarin
  • Church
  • Society