The Catholic Women’s Council has launched a website to coordinate and help with their demand for equal rights and dignity for females in the Church.
– “The same rights and dignity of women must be recognised”
As it explains on its new website – catholicwomenscouncil.org – the Catholic Women’s Council (CWC) is a global umbrella group of Roman Catholic networks working for the full recognition of the dignity and equality of women in the Church.
Though the different groups from all five continents that make up the network have different priorities, speeds and challenges in navegating and overcoming the structural sexism in the Church, “all agree that the same rights and dignity of women must be recognised both in the current structure of the Roman Catholic Church and in its daily practice”, as the CWC explains.
That’s the reason why as well as “Dignity and Equality” the slogan “Many voices, one vision” appears on the new CWC website.
Though all the member associations share the one vision of finally achieving the gender justice dictated and practised by Jesus – as well as mandated by basic human rights – the groups retain their own methods of accomplishing that goal.
Evidence of the CWC’s unity in diversity is evidenced, for example, on the question of women’s ordination – whether to the priesthood or to the diaconate – with the CWC explaining that the network “as a whole does not endorse any single position but rather seeks to bring people together in a spirit of informed, honest and inclusive dialogue within which we can explore these and other issues as we seek to discern what the Holy Spirit is calling us to”.
– From Stuttgart to the world
As the CWC further sets out, the umbrella group for women’s rights in the Church was first formed in Stuttgart in November 2019, when Catholic women’s associations, initiatives, women religious orders and church bodies from Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland came together to network on a united position of women in the Church for the very first time.
In January 2020, the CWC then went global as an umbrella group.
– Working towards a November 2021 pilgrimage to Rome
Though the CWC does invite all Roman Catholic associations, initiatives, networks, religious orders and ecclesiastical institutions to participate in its activities, potential members do have to profess the series of values which hold the different groups together.
Potential members are also encouraged to help with the organisation of a major event the CWC is planning: a global pilgrimage to Rome in November 2021 to bring, as the Council itself explains, “our collective experiences, reflections and struggles for the equal rights and dignity of women to the institutional centre of our Church”.
In terms of that preparation for the Rome pilgrimage, the different groups affiliated with the CWC are currently organising their own smaller-scale virtual or local mini-pilgrimages, in formats such as meetings, lectures, common prayers, conversations, artistic expressions, concerts, debates, dancing, bicycle trips and more.
As part of the Rome pilgrimage preparations, too, the CWC is asking its affiliates for their stories, ideas and insights to bring to Vatican authorities on questions such as:
- What do you hope for as a woman in the post-Covid Church?
- What theme(s) would you choose for a Women’s Synod?
- What has to change?
- What are the main issues that we need to address?
- What resources do we have as women working for change?
- Sacramental life
- Power and participation
- Theology, language and representation
- Structures, accountability and communication
- Vulnerability, resistance and hope
- Women in the post-Covid Church
Those reflections are also accompanied by a series of blog articles written by women religious and theologians who share their personal visions of positive change for women in the Church.
(With material from the Catholic Women’s Council)
Dignity and equality are given by God, and no one else