Vatican commission proposes a synod on women

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican's commission of Latin American church leaders is demanding greater opportunities for women in the church and proposing that Pope Francis call a special meeting of the world's bishops to discuss women.

The Pontifical Commission for Latin America said in a final communique from its recent plenary that the church needs a radical "change of mentality" in the way it views and treats half of humanity. The communique was published in Thursday's Vatican newspaper,

The commission members — 22 Latin American cardinals and bishops, plus 15 women who joined the panel for the meeting — said it was both possible and "urgent" to increase opportunities for women at both the parish level and at the Vatican.

They warned that if the church doesn't remedy its "machismo" attitude, women will simply leave.