Spanish Catholic women are “losing patience” with the Church, saying that “without deep changes, the Church will never be the Church of Jesus”.
– “We want our place in the community of equals of Jesus. There’s no going back”
“We’re hurting because of the imbalance between what we give and what we get back”, explained feminist theologian Marifé Ramos, cofounder of the group Mujeres y Teología (“Women and Theology”), at the presentation February 24 of the “revolt” Spanish Catholic women are planning for next Sunday March 1.
“We want our place in the community of equals of Jesus. There’s no going back, it’s not a one-off thing: it’s unstoppable… We don’t want to break with anyone: the Church was, and has to be, a community of equals”, Ramos implored.
“The Church is shot through with the work of women and most of the time we’re not even seen. We’re also hurting because of our invisibility… that’s why we’re saying ‘Enough!'”.
– “A say and a vote” for women
“Without deep changes, the Church will never be the Church of Jesus”, added for her part theologian Pepa Torres, who during the presentation of the “revolt” performed the gesture of anointing the press conference attendees with perfume. Just like the unnamed woman in the Gospels did to Jesus, and who he recognised as a prophet.
“Let the perfume of equality spread”, the “revolt” organisers proclaimed.
“Tired of pushing, and of silence, we have decided to raise our voice”, Torres explained of the “revolt”, which has as its goal, she added, “a profound ecclesial renewal that puts an end to the discrimination suffered by women in the Church, and keeps going until [the Church] becomes a community of equals”.
“We want to have a say and a vote – just as recently didn’t happen in the Amazon Synod – which means being present in places of decision-making in the Church, ‘until that becomes a habit'”, Torres emphasised, making reference with that last phrase to the slogan of the “revolt”: “Until equality becomes a habit”.
“We will protest in the churches, but at the doors, outside them, because that is how we feel”, explained the theologian of the initiative, planned this Sunday for the surrounds of the cathedrals of Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Santiago, Santander, Seville, Bilbao, Valencia, amongst other places.
– Manifesto: “That the leadership of women in the Church be fully recognised”
To accompany the “revolt”, the Spanish Catholic women have prepared music, readings, prayers, moments of silence but a lot of ruckus, too.
That, along with a manifesto that sets out some of their demands to Church leaders.
“We aspire to deep reforms that will fill up the pit of inequalities”, “let canon law change to recognise this inequality”, “that the leadership of women in the Church be fully recognised, and not only in subsidiary, auxiliary and care tasks”… these are just some of the pleas the Spanish Catholic women are issuing in their manifesto.
Or as theologian Torres summed it up: what the faithful women want most of all is an end to “the worst sickness in the Church” today: clericalism.
“What’s needed is a de-clericalised Church. Clericalism is a mentality… which runs through the Church and has pervaded many Christians, [and] which leads even to think that women’s bodies can never express the divine”, Torres denounced.
– “Can’t keep putting up with a Church that is so sexist that it puts us down a peg and doesn’t even give it a second thought”
For her part, Montse Suárez, from the women’s section of the Workers’ Fraternity of Catholic Action (HOAC) in Barcelona and Sant Feliu, and also part of the Barcelona organising committee of the Catholic women’s “revolt”, denounced to Spanish news agency EFE that “it’s very unfair that men are the ones who think and decide” in the Church “and women are the ones who do everything else: clean, give catechesis, take care of people”.
Especially when, in the Church, there are “very great women theologians” who have virtually no space and who are heard very little, Suárez lamented.
Suárez warned that women can’t bear “to continue putting up with a Church that is so sexist, so patriarchal, that it puts us down a peg and doesn’t even give that a second thought”.
“Our patience is running out”, theologian Ramos cautioned, adding that although Pope Francis “is giving more space to women” in the Church with new appointments to key Vatican positions, change for women “is so slow we’ll need centuries” to achieve real equality.