Catholic women from 5 continents and different areas such as universities, religious orders, associations, initiatives, journalism as well as theologians, volunteers, reform activists and pastoral workers in Church service, came together last week in Rome to bring together decades of commitment to equal dignity and equal rights for women in the Catholic Church worldwide.

The meeting took place under the umbrella of the Catholic Women’s Council (CWC), which was founded in Stuttgart in November 2019 and now unites committed Catholic women around the globe under one umbrella group.

Dignity and equality are inseparably linked. Only when women have equal rights in the Catholic Church is their dignity fully respected. For a sustainable Church, the voices of 600 million Catholic women must be heard.

It became clear at this meeting that the demand for equality is not a specifically European concern, as is often claimed.

Catholics all over the world are confronted with this question in the social and ecclesial context and are more than ever willing to demand their equal rights.

As a result of the meeting, the CWC calls for a global pilgrimage. A journey in which women around the world are called to travel together virtually and physically. In different countries, each with their own cultural contexts, the voices of women will be gathered.

We want to hear and read the stories of Catholic women on this journey, sharing their realities, pains, hopes, joys and sorrows. 

The pilgrimage will end in Rome in September 2021 with an inaugural global Catholic Women’s Council event – where women come together to pool their experiences and insights and find ways to heal their broken church and make it a more sustainable, inclusive one. 

Over the next three months, the CWC will establish an international planning group to create the foundations and structures for this pilgrimage. Local activities will be created and made virtually accessible to all. 

The uniting call for equal dignity and equal rights will ignite the change process like never before as Catholic women globally focus on one common vision.

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

(Source: Voices of Faith)

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