“No woman in the world wants to be oppressed. Every woman wants to be respected in her dignity”, a member of a Catholic women’s rights group has implored.

Driving the news

Maria Mesrian, a member of the German Catholic gender equality movement ‘Maria 2.0’, was in Rome last week for a meeting of the new global Catholic Women’s Council (CWC).

Mesrian spoke to Domradio January 31 about whether the new CWC, which was launched in Stuttgart in November last year, is the new worldwide version of Maria 2.0, famous in Germany and beyond for their actions for women’s equality in Catholicism, including women’s church strikes, human chains around cathedrals and women-only, non-official prayer services.

Go deeper

Not exactly, was Mesrian’s answer to the question of the connection between Maria 2.0 and the CWC, “but many elements of Maria 2.0 will flow into it”.

“We are a formation of religious, of theologians, of Catholic journalists, of women from associations, that is, very diverse and broad”, Mesrian explained of the CWC.

The push for women’s proper recognition in the Church was on full display at the CWC meeting in Rome, “a colorful mix of the five continents”, Mesrian recalled.

The Maria 2.0 member explained that women’s liberation issues “are catching on everywhere. They are catching on in a social context, but they are also very much catching on in a Church context”.

Mesrian said women’s dignity and equality in society would only be fully achieved when that equality was realised also in the Church.

“Together with our networks around the world, we want to embark on a pilgrimage that is to end in Rome in 2021”, the Maria 2.0 explained, evoking the journey the Catholic women’s rights group Voices of Faith announced this week.

“In this way, we want to collect women’s voices, what they think about dignity and equal rights in their respective cultural contexts. Then we want to call a big, global meeting in Rome, where women talk to women about their dreams, their visions of a just Catholic Church”, Mesrian highlighted.

For the record

Mesrian also recalled in her interview with Domradio that Maria 2.0 is praying for the success of the German Church’s “synodal path, even if the women’s group has preferred to stay on the margins of the reform process, out of a desire, most of all, to remain independent.

That’s why Maria 2.0 has organised a vigil for Friday night in Frankfurt Cathedral, to pray that with the synodal path “the Holy Spirit finds a small gap where he can go back into this Church”.

What’s next

As it so happened, Voices of Faith announced January 31 another push for women’s equality in the Church, this time for March 8, coinciding with International Women’s Day.

The full press release from Voices of Faith follows:

Catholic women: you are the change!

Join us on International Women’s Day 2020 in Germany, Kenya, Switzerland, Italy, Australia and India (with more locations to come)! Local Catholic women’s and reform groups will gather in and outside of their churches around the world to send a message for equal rights and equal dignity.

Catholic women are taking responsibility and no longer asking for their future. 

Wear white as a sign of the movement, a white scarf being symbolic of the baptismal dignity, which every woman can then decorate or adorn in a way that expresses her culture and personality.

Bring candles as a symbol for the light we want to spread amid the darkness of the current Catholic Church.

Join us at one of the following locations on Sunday 8th March:

  • Germany: Cologne Cathedral
  • Kenya: Nairobi – Catholic University of Eastern Africa
  • India: Mumbai – Holy Name Cathedral
  • Germany: Domplatz – Münster Cathedral
  • Germany: Munich – Frauenkirche
  • Australia: Sydney – St Mary’s North Sydney
  • Switzerland: Zurich – Felix and Regula Church
  • Germany: Limburg – Schloss in Hadamar
  • Austria: Linz – Location to be confirmed
  • Italy: Milan – Location to be confirmed

(Source: Voices of Faith)

Next on Novena:

Catholic women launch global pilgrimage for equal rights, healing of “broken” Church

German-speaking Catholic women band together for urgent reform of “violent” Church structures

Catholic women say timid Amazon Synod opening to female deacons “unacceptable”, more needed

Equality campaigners tell Synod: “Empowered women will save the Church”

‘Voices of Faith’ general manager: “The Church can only benefit from women’s equality”

Nuns, laywomen stand up to be counted as Church “prophets and pioneers”

Women demand “equality and inclusion” in Church, votes at synods

‘Voices of Faith’ pushes for votes for women in bishops’ Synods


Progressive Catholic journalist, author and educator. Working on social justice, equality and Church renewal.