Lutheran church likely to ban women's ordination

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The attempt by the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church (LELB) to ban women's ordination shows that the church is influenced by the radicalism trends prevalent within the society, priest Linards Rozentāls of the Torņakalns Lutheran Church told Latvian Television Thursday.

He said that the practice of not ordaining women within the church has appeared during the twenty years under the leadership of Jānis Vanags.

However the LELB has a long history of inclusiveness as women were allowed to preach since the 1930s. According to Rozentāls, women were allowed to become priests under the Soviet occupation as well.

Rozentāls said that within the Lutheran World Federation, of which the LELB is part, 77% of churches allow conferring the holy orders on women.

He said that the Bible does not prohibit conferring the holy orders on women. According to him it's a matter of interpretation.

The Good Word is essentially inclusive, preaching equality and acceptance of different people, he said. That's why the attempt to exclude a certain group of people is odd.

"With this attempt the church surrenders to the trends prevalent within society," said Rozentāls, calling for compromise.

In late April a delegation from the the Lutheran World Federation paid a visit to Latvia, urging the LELB to reconsider the upcoming decision.

This week the church will hold a synod in which the Constitution of the church is expected to be changed by a vote, banning women's ordination.

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