We are Catholic Women Speak
Members of Catholic Women Speak campaign in Rome in support of #votesforcatholicwomen
Prioress Irene Gassmann and her Benedictine nuns from the monastery Fahr – Switzerland rally in support of #votesforcatholicwomen
Scroll through below for a selection of photos from our time in Rome.
Watch the videos of our symposium here. These will be edited and labelled more clearly, but you can watch selected sessions by scrolling through these unedited versions and following the running order listed beneath the videos.
Catholic Women Trying to Speak
On the afternoon of Wednesday, 3rd October, some members of Catholic Women Speak joined Women’s Ordination Conference and Voices of Faith to stage a peaceful protest outside the Vatican as the bishops gathered for the start of the Synod. As they walked past in their red and black finery, we chanted a litany – a list of all the bishops’ names, followed by the words, “Let women vote”. The chorus was, “Knock, knock who’s there? More than half the Church.”
The reason for the protest is that the Synod rules have recently been changed so that non-ordained participants can vote, but it seems this applies only to non-ordained men. Two religious brothers will be entitled to vote during the final deliberations and decisions of the Synod, but religious sisters and other female participants will not. That was the reason for the protest.
Two Irish members of the Synod stopped to engage in warm and friendly conversation with the demonstrators – Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin. Others walked by, ignoring the protesters. After about half an hour, the Italian police arrived in force – two police cars with blue lights flashing, followed by a riot van, followed by two mounted police on horseback. The police demanded to see the women’s passports, and the organiser of the protest, Executive Director of Women’s Ordination Conference Kate McElwee, was manhandled and threatened with arrest.
Eventually, the police returned the passports and the demonstrators dispersed to a local bar to drink Prosecco and share a sense of solidarity. We invited the police to join us, but they declined.
Contributors to the Symposium – in order of appearance
Scroll down to find out more
Meet some of the contributors and read extracts from the book by clicking on the images below
Towards a deeper, richer understanding of the Catholic tradition
We are creating a space for open dialogue, theological exploration and collaboration among Catholic women in the worldwide Church.
We seek to bring Catholic women’s voices into dialogue with others in the Catholic Church, with those in other churches and religious traditions, and with wider society, in order to participate in a deeper, richer understanding of the Catholic tradition and its relevance for our times
We do not speak with one voice
We believe in the creativity of struggle and acceptance that comes from learning to respect our differences. We regard these as vital aspects of the process of discovery and transformation that brings us together in our faith.
We speak as women, not as “Woman”
We resist any attempt to develop a theology of “Woman”.
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A forum for dialogue
The purpose of the forum is to create an informed and honest space for dialogue around issues relevant to the lives of Catholic women in the Church and society.
Comments and contributions that are respectful, courteous and intelligent are welcome here.
Whatever your gender, you are welcome to join our conversation here.
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OCTOBER 7, 2018 TWENTY-SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME SUSAN A. ROSS What a set
CWS member Sara Parvis has written a letter to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection
News and events
CWS member Sara Parvis has written a letter to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors which was originally shared via the Catholic Women Speak Facebook page and can now be shared with the
PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE SIGNING THE LETTER TO POPE FRANCIS FROM CATHOLIC WOMEN Catholic Women Speak supports a broad and inclusive church that can accommodate a wide spectrum of Catholic beliefs and practices. Our members
Men and women, young people and adults, communicate differently. They speak different languages and they act in different ways. Everyone has something to contribute, because they have their life experiences, they look at things from a different standpoint and they have their own concerns, abilities and insights. The unity that we seek is not uniformity, but a “unity in diversity”, or “reconciled diversity”.
– Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitiae – The Joy of Love
Catholic Women Speak – The book
Paulist Press (US)
Alban Books (UK)
Review of Catholic Women Speak in Tui Motu InterIsland Magazine
Catholic Women Speak: Bringing our Gifts to the Table is, I believe, a significant contribution to the discussion around the role of women in the Catholic Church in the 21st century. It is not only well-researched, but is a lively and thought-provoking read. I thoroughly recommend it.
Daily Theology, ‘Review: Catholic Women Speak’
One of the strengths of the volume is the plurality of voices, which do not speak with a single, unified opinion on controversy. This is all the better, really, to reflect the complexity of women’s lives. I can easily see this book being valuable for pastors and pastoral associates, for parish book clubs, for academics to use in their classrooms when dealing with perennially hot-button topics.
Vox Nova, Jeannine Marie Pitas, Book Review: ‘Catholic Women Break Their Silence’:
For me, this book is a breath of fresh air. A thick wall of silence has been broken; masks have been removed. It is refreshing to see these forty-four women speak in such a courageous, vulnerable and self-revealing way. This book is a must-read for all who seek a better understanding of the real, lived experience of women in the Catholic Church today.
Get involved with Catholic Women Speak today
Join a vibrant network of Catholic women who all support each other on their personal and spiritual journeys.
We are delighted to collaborate with L’Osservatore Romano in distributing the English translation of their Women Church World magazine through our website.
In collaboration with Voices of Faith
Catholic Women Speak and Voices of Faith work together to promote the representation and participation of women in the life of the Church. We do this through publications, media promotions, educational activities, networking and social media, and by organising events such as the International Women’s Day conference organised in Rome every year by Voices of Faith, and the symposia in Rome organised by Catholic Women Speak to coincide with Synods of Bishops in 2015 and 2018.
In collaboration with Catherine of Siena College
We work closely with the college which provides an online learning environment for the promotion of higher education in the fields of theology, religion, gender and social justice, intended particularly but not exclusively for women in the global South who would not otherwise have access to university education.
Both the Network and the College are administered by the University of Roehampton in London, under the umbrella of the Digby Stuart Research Centre for Religion, Society and Human Flourishing.