News and Updates:
For Immediate Release: October 23, 2014
Contacts: Erin Saiz Hanna, 401-588-0457
Marianne Duddy-Burke, 617-669-7810
Gathered in Chicago for its annual meeting, October 17-19, 2014, the members of Women-Church Convergence, a coalition of feminist Catholic groups, issued the following statement as the Extraordinary Synod on the Family was drawing to a close in Rome.
Women-Church Convergence celebrates the diversity of families and affirms the holiness of all families where love and commitment reign.
We agree that challenges faced by families should be at the center of our Church's focus, but are concerned that women and families did not have active roles in shaping the outcome of the Extraordinary Synod. The entire Church-not just clerics for whom not creating families is a condition of their ministry-must have active and equal leadership roles in the development of policy, theology, and programs to address the myriad needs of families.
A group of men who fail to protect the children of our Church from sexual abuse, and who repeatedly sacrifice children to shield the offenders, has no credibility saying anything about what families need. A group of men who have no need for contraception has no standing to deny women access to appropriate reproductive health services. A group of men without experience of wedded life has no right to legislate who should and should not be married.
The egregious omission of women and families in forming Church policy has a devastating impact on Catholics and others worldwide. Instead of an obsession with doctrine, families need the Church to dismantle systems of oppression, work to end violence against women and children, stand firmly against war and the destruction of our planet, recognize women's moral agency, and honor decisions about family life made with informed consciences and prayerful discernment.
We believe it is long overdue for all families to be welcomed into the sacramental life of our Church. Far too many people are denied sacraments because of their family status. We mourn this misuse of clerical power, which deprives families of spiritual nourishment and connection to the Christian community.
Women-Church Convergence represents Catholic organizations committed to prioritizing the needs of women and children. In our circles, all are welcome.
Women-Church Convergence is a coalition of autonomous Catholic-rooted organizations raising a feminist voice and committed to an ekklesia of women that is participative, egalitarian and self-governing. Members endorsing this statement include
8th Day Center for Justice - Women in Church and Society Committee
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
Catholics for Choice
Catholics for Choice-Canada
A Critical Mass: Women Celebrating Eucharist
Greater Cincinnati Women-Church
Loretto Women's Network
National Coalition of American Nuns
Roman Catholic Womenpriests
San Francisco Bay Area Women-Church
SAS - Sisters Against Sexism
WATER - Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual
The issue of the Vatican’s influence on the UN’s resolution for the protection of Women’s right defenders has come to our attention. Catholics for Choice assures us that they are keeping close scrutiny on the Holy See’s and some conservative countries’ obstruction of women and children’s full human rights. The Holy See and its allies insisted on the deletion of a paragraph that stated religious beliefs, national laws and cultural traditions would not be an exception to the resolution.
You are invited to take an interest in this issue. The links below provide background information on the Holy See and the UN. We encourage you to share the links and your thoughts by communicating with those who might be interested through e-mail and social media.
Here is AWID’s statement about the resolution’s passage (which also includes a link to a Global Report about the threats of violence against women’s human rights defenders.)
The resolution as passed is called: A/C.3/68/L.64/Rev.1. Here is a link where you can scroll down to L.64 and find both the original version and the Rev 1 as passed. It was passed by a Third Committee of the General Assembly and be put forward at the General Assembly of the Commission on the Status of women.
A publication of Catholics for Choice titled: “The Catholic Church at the United Nations: Church or State?”
A three minute video on the role of the Holy See at the United Nations, and associated issues, put together by Catholics for Choice.
We will continue to follow developments about this specific resolution and will post updates on the W-CC web site.
For Immediate Release
Date: October 2, 2013
From: Women-Church Convergence
Subject: Women-Church Convergence Celebrates 30 Years
Contacts: Katherine Wojtan, Women-Church Convergence Coordinator,
651-788-9869 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Women-Church Convergence, a coalition of diverse Catholic-rooted groups, celebrated its thirtieth anniversary September 27-29, 2013, by affirming its mission and applauding the “Conscience Monologues: Women’s Stories of Conscience within the Catholic Church” produced by the 8th Day Center, a member group of the Convergence. More than fifty women gathered in the Chicago area representing fifteen member organizations for prayer, discussion, and festivity.
The needs of women and dependent children— preventing sexual and domestic violence, bringing about reproductive justice, and assuring women’s moral and spiritual agency—are paramount concerns of Convergence groups. Together, the groups represent strong feminist voices in the creation of new forms of church and new egalitarian social structures.
Donna Quinn, past coordinator of Women-Church Convergence and Coordinator of the National Coalition of American Nuns, stated during this celebration that “Over the last 30 years we have worked to change unjust practices and structures within Church and Society. W-CC is a place where divergent Catholic feminist views can be brought to the table and all can be heard. We support each other with courage, laughter, and blessings in this work.”
On April 13, 2013 Sheila Dierks led a discussion on "What Would a Feminist Sacramental System Look Like?"
On March 9, 2013 Katherine Wojatan & Louise Akers led a W-CC discussion on "What Scriptures are Sacred for Me?"
Where are the Catholic women as the Cardinals meet in secrecy to elect from among themselves the next leader of the Catholic Church? Where is the other half of the Conclave?
Some women are protesting in St. Peter's Square demanding an equal part in the institutional church. Other women are in the parish pews praying for the next pope. But the vast majority of young and seasoned Catholic women are making their own choices about their faith and their lives. They are working to eradicate injustice, ministering to those in need, and celebrating the goodness of creation. They are exercising their moral authority despite the exclusionary ways of the hierarchy.
Knowing that the papal election and the Roman Catholic hierarchical church are designed to exclude them, countless Catholic women are meeting their spiritual needs with resources from outside of clerical hierarchical structures. They have discovered and developed a dynamic paradigm rooted in the message of Jesus focused on equality and community. They are moving beyond the patriarchal hierarchy, creating church communities that are meaningful and nourishing. They are acting with a love for justice that demands no less.
Catholic women invite the cardinals to take off their scarlet robes and leave their privileged places. Let them join with the people of God in a new form of Catholic community, a “discipleship of equals,” that will never again have to ask, “Where are the women?”
Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER)
By Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA Executive Director
Women-Church Convergence (W-CC) is a coalition of autonomous Catholic-rooted organizations that raise a feminist voice and are committed to producing an ekklesia of women who are participative, egalitarian, and self-governing. DignityUSA has been a member of the Convergence almost since its founding in 1983. The Convergence generally does its work through email and conference call, but holds an annual in-person meeting early each Fall. This year, Dignity/Boston and DignityUSA were proud to welcome W-CC members to Boston, where, in addition to the business and social events of the Convergence, the three groups offered an inclusive feminist liturgy as well as a discussion of how women of Catholic backgrounds respond to their ministerial calls.
Attended by approximately 60 people, the rich discussion was led by a panel of five women, each of whom represented a different kind of ministry.
The panel included:
The liturgy, developed by members of Dignity/New York and Dignity/Boston, echoed the theme of ministry. Following liturgy, participants enjoyed an Italian dinner in Boston’s famous North End. The event was part of Dignity/Boston’s 40th Anniversary Celebration.
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