Transparent policies and accountability needed if the Vatican is serious about bringing more women to meaningful leadership at the Curia
Recent statements by Pope Francis and top Vatican officials support the need to bring more lay women to top leadership positions at the Roman Curia. However, Voices of Faith is concerned about the apparent difficulties and lack of transparency in regard to how those women are chosen and the process undertaken to appoint them. In an extensively quoted interview with Reuters on June 17th 2018, Pope Francis is reported saying, “I don't have any problem naming a woman as the head of a dicastery." At the same time, he talks about difficulties in finding the right candidates and convincing curial officials to accept women for leadership positions. The Prefect of the Dicastery of Laity, Family and Life, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, stated that the Vatican is "overloaded with clerics" and that "administrative functions within the church can be done by anybody" including laity.
All global indicators point to CHANGE. Science tells us about the Big Bang and the ongoing history of the cosmos. A living faith tells us that God’s creation continues to emerge toward a peace and oneness for which we all yearn. We as people of God can contribute to this emergence by coming to the first-ever Peoples Synod in Dallas, October 12-14, 2018, to experience deep listening - a new method of dialogue that brings people together.
This gathering is not only about what happens at the event, but far more about what the participants take home and do with it afterwards.
“Instead of being just a church that welcomes and receives by keeping the doors open, let us try also to be a church that finds new roads ... to those who have quit or are indifferent.” [Pope Francis, September 30, 2013, America Magazine]
“Dare to imagine a Church in which Love surpasses law.”
Attendees will work in dialogue circles of ten or twelve, listening to one another and exploring with one another how law is fundamentally needed to maintain the order that all social systems need but we are looking to introduce love, our guiding principle as Christians, as the arbitrator of lived experience. Some decisions require adherence to law, yet others season the situation with mercy and love. It is our hope that, through these circle conversations, questions and wisdom will bubble up from the grassroots, guide the participants to grow in discernment, and arrive at their own perspective for their personal lives.
All are welcome to this ecumenical gathering. It is an enterprise of pilgrims where people from different faith communities, different beliefs, and different walks of life, by listening to one another, can live out Jesus’ message of love in different ways. It is our hope that, in these chaotic times, this experience will
(1) equip the participants with tools for rekindling and drawing strength from the relationships they have cultivated at the synod; and
(2) give witness to the maturation of faithful people who will be Spirit-led into an understanding of precisely how they can apply what they’ve learned to their own lived experiences and bring this wisdom back into their communal living.
To all Catholic Women,
Catholic Women Speak and Voices of Faith have collaborated to write an open letter to Pope Francis appealing for greater participation of and dialogue with women in the worldwide Church. They have asked for our support of this effort to open a meaningful dialogue with women in the church so that women can have a more "decisive" presence in the universal Church. Please read the letter and, if you agree, you are invited to sign the letter and, in turn, circulate it to your networks.
As you will see, the letter is supportive of Pope Francis and seeks to open up a dialogue. The creators of this website believe it is important to express our concerns about the language used to describe women, and this letter strives to do so gently - not to provoke a confrontation
Here is the link to the website with the letter and the signature form: We are grateful in advance for your support.
We Are Church International Calls for Separate Dicastery on Women’s Equality, Calls Current Vatican Direction “Ineffective”
May 17, 2018.
[ Italian ]
Leaders of We Are Church International today expressed serious concerns about the expansion of the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life to include deepened reflection on the role of women. The broadening of the mission, headed by Cardinal Kevin Farrell, is the result of new statutes issued by Pope Francis that took effect May 13, 2018.
Colm Holmes of Dublin, Ireland, Chairperson of We Are Church International, said, “It is certainly critically important that the Vatican reflect and take action on the oppression women experience in our Church and in most cultures. However, putting this responsibility under the direction of the very man who recently banned at least two equality-minded women from speaking at the Vatican raises doubt that real progress will be possible. In addition, couching the consideration of women’s roles in the traditional Vatican language of ‘the relationship between men and women in their respective specificity, reciprocity, complementarity and equal dignity’ and ‘feminine genius’ indicates a tenacious commitment to the very beliefs that put women in a second class status.”
Holmes continued, “We Are Church International calls on Pope Francis to establish a Dicastery for Women’s Equality. As former Irish President Mary McAleese pointed out in her remarkable address on International Women’s Day earlier this year, the Catholic Church needs to stop spreading the virus of misogyny and inequality throughout the world. A separate dicastery with a clear mission of dismantling the structures of oppression that result from Church teachings and practices is a necessary first step. We believe this Dicastery should be led by a team of directors, women and men, who can work collaboratively, modeling a new form of ministry and leadership at the Vatican. Their first mission should be to travel around the world, listening to women about their lives, their faith, and their relationship with the Church with no closed doors. What they learn should inform the Dicastery’s ongoing work of discerning the work of the Spirit.”
We Are Church International has long stood for women’s equality in the Church, including opening ministry and decision-making roles to women. The group supports all efforts that help advance this goal but sees the current direction as ineffective and problematic.
We Are Church International (WAC-I) founded in Rome in 1996, is a global coalition of national church reform groups. It is committed to the renewal of the Roman Catholic Church based on the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the theological spirit developed from it.