WOW call on Pope Francis to dialogue with women called to priesthood

For Immediate Release: June 22, 2018

Women’s Ordination Worldwide (WOW) is deeply disappointed by Pope Francis’ reiteration of the “closed door” stance on women’s ordination.  We call on Pope Francis to lead by example and dialogue with the many women who are called to priesthood. 

 The Vatican's repeated attempts to limit God’s priestly call to celibate men causes great pain to the women who have discerned their vocation to the priesthood, as well as to the people of God who are deprived of women’s gifts and sacramental leadership. WOW stands with women who are alienated and dismissed by his discriminatory remarks as their call from God to priesthood is repeatedly denied by the Church hierarchy.  


In the same interview, Pope Francis, referring to Vatican relations with China, is quoted saying, “Dialogue is a risk, but I prefer risk rather than the certain defeat that comes with not holding dialogue.” Pope Francis has encouraged fearless dialogue throughout his pontificate. We expect the same fearless dialogue in other contexts of the Church's life, including women's priestly vocation and equality in the Church.
 
Pope Francis continues: “There is no Church without women.” We pray that Pope Francis comes to realize that there is also no credibility in the Church without equality for women.  If dialogue is a risk, we must call our Church leaders to find the courage to listen to women as equals in Christ. Without further dialogue on women’s ordination, sexism will remain undefeated.

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Contact WOW Leadership: 

Alicja Baranowska: (Belgium & Poland)  +32 488 67 60 20  alicja.baranowska@wp.pl

Pat Brown: (UK) +44 7950048628 pat@patbrown-at.co.uk

Colm Holmes: (Ireland)  +353 86 606 3636 colmholmes2020@gmail.com

Kate McElwee: (Italy & USA) +39 393 692 2100 kmcelwee@womensordination.org

Ill-informed arguments are to blame for any “confusion” about women's ordination

May 30, 2018

Archbishop Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith recently published an article in the Vatican’s L’Osservatore Romano, claiming that “there are voices that put into doubt the definitive nature” of the ban on the women’s priestly ordination, and "sowing these doubts creates serious confusion among the faithful." 

The international umbrella network, Women’s Ordination Worldwide (founded in 1996 at the First European Women’s Synod), observes that it is ill-informed arguments such as Archbishop Ladaria’s that are to blame for any “confusion” of the faithful.

While the Vatican continues to defend policies that consider women inferior, limiting the reaches of God’s call to ministry, and maintaining a male-only hierarchy, women and young people are walking away.  

The Christian solution to the “virus of misogyny” is equality.

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Contact WOW Leadership: 

Alicja Baranowska: (Belgium & Poland)  +32 488 67 60 20  alicja.baranowska@wp.pl

Pat Brown: (UK) +44 7950048628 pat@patbrown-at.co.uk

Colm Holmes: (Ireland)  +353 86 606 3636 colmholmes2020@gmail.com

Kate McElwee: (Italy & USA) +39 393 692 2100 kmcelwee@womensordination.org

The Holy Spirit is calling Women and Men to serve in a renewed priesthood

For Immediate Release: May 24, 2018

Pope Francis voiced alarm (21 May 2018) at the “vocational sterility” and “haemorrhaging” of nuns and priests in Italy and Europe.

The day after Pentecost Pope Francis is missing the signs of the Holy Spirit amongst the people of God. Insisting on only celibate male candidates to serve as priests means excluding all women and most men.

Shortage of vocations to the outdated forms of the priesthood or religious life does not mean there are no vocations, as we can see many Catholics, both women and men, being involved as lay ministers or pastoral associates, or even taking steps toward ordination in movements such as the Roman Catholic Women Priests.  New times require new models to fulfill God-given vocations.

Truly, the most obvious “haemorrhaging” in the Church today is the generations of talented and educated women who are leaving the Catholic Church to answer their call to priesthood or find equal rights and dignity in another faith. The People of God are following these women to communities that model equality and inclusion.

WOW recently launched a series, “Catholic Women Called,” documenting short videos of women called to priesthood, women the institutional Church tries to discredit and dismiss.

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Contact WOW Leadership: 

Alicja Baranowska: (Belgium & Poland)  +32 488 67 60 20  alicja.baranowska@wp.pl

Pat Brown: (UK) +44 7950048628 pat@patbrown-at.co.uk

Colm Holmes: (Ireland)  +353 86 606 3636 colmholmes2020@gmail.com

Kate McElwee: (Italy & USA) +39 393 692 2100 kmcelwee@womensordination.org

Führende Deutsche Politikerin steht für das Priestertum der Frau

Die internationale „Women Ordination Worldwide“ (WOW), die sich auf der ersten Frauensynode 1996 in Gmunden/Österreich gegründet hat und die sich in der weltweiten Römisch-Katholischen Kirche für das Diakonat und Priestertum der Frau einsetzt und deren Berufungen bezeugt und dokumentiert, begrüßt die explizite und klare Stellungnahme der neuen Generalsekretärin der Christlich-demokratischen Union (CDU) Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer für das Priesteramt der Frau, die aus eigenem Impuls heraus erfolgt ist. Die katholische Politikerin aus dem Saarland, die als mögliche Nachfolgerin von Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel gilt, hat dabei auch persönlich bekundet, dass sie selbst sich zum Priestertum berufen gefühlt hat. Mit ihrer Äußerung, gibt sie auch zu verstehen, dass sie ihrer Römisch-Katholischen Kirche heute auch zutraut sich über diese Frage sich nicht zu spalten, sondern im Gegenteil positiv zu wachsen und bestärkt zu werden. 

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Alicja Baranowska: (Belgium & Poland)  +32 488 67 60 20  alicja.baranowska@wp.pl

Colm Holmes: (Ireland)  +353 86 606 3636 colmholmes2020@gmail.com

Leading German politician supports Women Priests

Statement from Women's Ordination Worldwide:

The International Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW), which was founded at the first Women's Synod in 1996 in Gmunden, Austria, and is committed to women in the diaconate and priesthood in the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, confirming and documenting their vocations, welcomes the explicit and clear statement of the new General Secretary of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer in support of the priesthood of women, a statement which she made on her own initiative.

This Catholic politician from the Saarland, who is considered a possible successor to Chancellor Angela Merkel, has also personally stated that she has felt herself called to the priesthood. With her statement, she also makes it clear that today she trusts her Roman Catholic Church not to split itself on this question, but on the contrary to grow positively and to be strengthened. 

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Contact WOW Leadership: 

Alicja Baranowska: (Belgium & Poland)  +32 488 67 60 20  alicja.baranowska@wp.pl

Pat Brown: (UK) +44 7950048628 pat@patbrown-at.co.uk

Colm Holmes: (Ireland)  +353 86 606 3636 colmholmes2020@gmail.com

Kate McElwee: (Italy & USA) +39 393 692 2100 kmcelwee@womensordination.org

 

WOW support Cardinal’s call for a Council to review the question women’s ordination

In a wide-ranging interview with Salzburger Nachrichten, Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, and member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, says a future Council should review the question of the ordination of women as deacons, priests and bishops.

Responding to a “developing need,” Schönborn believes these “big questions” should not be left to the Pope alone, but rather decided by the Church community.

Women’s Ordination Worldwide (WOW) supports the Cardinal’s call for a Council and Church-wide discussion to consider the question of sacramental ministry of women and reformed decision-making structures which include the Church community. For too long Church officials have attempted to silence the discussion of women’s ordination, claiming: “That door is closed.” The so-called “authoritative” documents prohibiting women from ordination are neither infallible nor theologically persuasive.

No door can keep out the Holy Spirit nor silence God’s call in the lives of women. WOW urges our Church leaders to challenge the “closed door” of women’s ordination and break the silence on the exclusion of women for sacramental ministry and decision-making roles in the Church.

As Sr. Joan Chittister and actor Martin Sheen wrote in 2015 in support of WOW:

The reason some questions cannot be suppressed, do not go away--regardless how many people think they should--is because the human heart knows they must be asked or have yet to be clearly answered.  When that question concerns the quality of the discipleship of half the Catholics in the world, it cries out for attention. And will continue to cry out until the church itself attends to it. Why? Because the model of Jesus with women demands it

Since 1996 WOW has urged global dialogue on the issue of women’s ordination, refusing to accept this “closed door” to women, including hand-delivering hundreds of letters urging the Pope to open the discussion on the possibility of ordaining women to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

WOW calls on all Church leaders to reexamine its exclusionary policies on women, listen to the voices of women called to sacramental ministry and those who yearn for women’s full and equal participation in the Church, and commit to reflect on its own participation in the oppression of women everywhere. The cure for outdated, misogynistic policies is radical equality.

 

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Contact WOW Leadership: 

Alicja Baranowska: (Belgium & Poland)  +32 488 67 60 20  alicja.baranowska@wp.pl

Pat Brown: (UK) +44 7950048628 pat@patbrown-at.co.uk

Colm Holmes: (Ireland)  +353 86 606 3636 colmholmes2020@gmail.com

Kate McElwee: (Italy & USA) +39 393 692 2100 kmcelwee@womensordination.org

Women's Ordination Advocates call for Progress, not 'Process,' on International Women's Day

Women's Ordination Advocates call for Progress, not 'Process,' on International Women's Day

The exploitation of women in the Vatican and the Church must end.

March 8, 2018

This International Women's Day, Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW) joins the global community in the #PressForProgress for women's equality by calling for an end to sexism and abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.

The theme of International Women's Day, "Press for Progress," is a rallying call for collective action and to reject complacency when women's lives are on the line.

"In the Roman Catholic Church, too often women are told that inclusion is a 'process,' and we must wait for equality," said Alicja Baranowska. Women's Ordination Worldwide laments the glacial pace of the Vatican to acknowledge women's full humanity. While the Vatican attempts to protect male power, women are walking away.

The clerical and patriarchal system of the Roman Catholic Church fosters an environment where women are not only rejected from positions of leadership and ministry, but are at great risk of exploitation and abuse.

The banning of former Ireland President Mary McAleese and Ugandan LGBT rights advocate Ssenfuka Joanita Warry from speaking in the Vatican by Cardinal Kevin Farrell is an insult to the Christian dignity of Catholic women around the world. We applaud Voices of Faith for moving their conference to another location rather than accepting such censorship.

Recent reports published in the Vatican's own L'Osservatore Romano revealed the exploitation of women religious serving the Vatican bureaucracy for little or no pay, nor opportunity for advancement. The article made clear it is not only about fair payment, but a clerical culture that treats women as inferior.

"The Catholic Church is not exempt from the #MeToo conversation; it is a painful example of the extremes of patriarchal power and the absolute scandal of sexism," said Kate McElwee, executive director of the Women's Ordination Conference. "Only when women are full and equal partners in all realms of leadership and ministry will the healing begin. Until then, the 'process' is simply broken: we need progress."

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Read the WOW statement on Voices of Faith

Contact WOW Leadership: 

Alicja Baranowska: (Belgium & Poland)  +32 488 67 60 20  alicja.baranowska@wp.pl

Pat Brown: (UK) +44 7950048628 pat@patbrown-at.co.uk

Colm Holmes: (Ireland)  +353 86 606 3636 colmholmes2020@gmail.com

Kate McElwee: (Italy & USA) +39 393 692 2100 kmcelwee@womensordination.org

WOW Responds to news of Voices of Faith Speaker Mary McAleese

For Immediate Release: 2 February 2018

Contact: 

Alicja Baranowska: (Belgium & Poland)  +32 488 67 60 20  alicja.baranowska@wp.pl

Pat Brown: (UK) +44 7950048628 pat@patbrown-at.co.uk

Colm Holmes: (Ireland)  +353 86 606 3636 colmholmes2020@gmail.com

Kate McElwee: (Italy & USA) +39 393 692 2100 kmcelwee@womensordination.org

Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW) notes with disappointment the news that organizers for a fifth annual event at the Vatican for International Women's Day were told they could not feature former Irish president Mary McAleese and Ugandan activist Ssenfuka Joanita Warry.

Pope Francis has called repeatedly for fearless dialogue in the church. Yet, within the Vatican bureaucracy silencing and policing of women's voices continues to be the status quo. It is reported that Cardinal Kevin Farrell's Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life is responsible for the decision. No reason was cited, but McAleese is known as an outspoken advocate for women's ordination and LGBT rights.

"For the past four years organizers have carefully curated the invited speakers and painstakingly avoided the topic of women's ordination," said Kate McElwee, executive director of the Women's Ordination Conference and member of WOW.  "While this turn of events is unfortunate, perhaps it is an opportunity to bring the Vatican's role in the structural and spiritual oppression of women into this year's discussion."

WOW supports the organizers of Voices of Faith for continuing in their mission despite the lack of hospitality from the church hierarchy. As we know too well: we may be marginalized but we will not be silenced.

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Women’s Ordination Worldwide (WOW): Founded in 1996, WOW is an international network of groups whose current mission is the inclusion of women in all ordained ministries in the Roman Catholic Church. Founded on the principle of equality, WOW opposes all discrimination. ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus’. (Galatians 3:28)

WOW Supports Fr. Roy Donovan, calls more clergy to speak out for equality

Contact:

Alicja Baranowska: (Belgium & Poland)  +32 488 67 60 20  alicja.baranowska@wp.pl

Pat Brown: (UK) +44 7950048628 pat@patbrown-at.co.uk

Colm Holmes: (Ireland)  +353 86 606 3636 colmholmes2020@gmail.com

Kate McElwee: (Italy & USA) +39 393 692 2100 kmcelwee@womensordination.org

For Immediate Release - 12th August 2017

Women's Ordination Worldwide offers our support to Limerick parish priest, Fr. Roy Donovan, for his recent public statements in support of women's ordination to the Roman Catholic priesthood and diaconate. 

We pray that more members of the clergy and hierarchy will speak out for women's full inclusion in our Church, joining the majority of Catholics around the world who support greater roles, including ordination, for women in the Church. 

The Church hierarchy must rid itself of the sin of sexism and once and for all, model its own Gospel values by recognizing women as equal partners in faith. 

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Women’s Ordination Worldwide (WOW): Founded in 1996, WOW is an international network of groups whose current mission is the inclusion of women in all ordained ministries in the Roman Catholic Church. Founded on the principle of equality, WOW opposes all discrimination. ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus’. (Galatians 3:28)

Longing for the Sun of Justice

WOW Leadership Circle:     
Pat Brown (UK)
+447950048628  patbrownalextechnique@btinternet.com             

Alicja Baranowska (Belgium & Poland) +32488676020or +48694725337 alicja.baranowska@wp.pl
Colm Holmes  (Ireland)                       
+353866063636 colmholmes2020@gmail.com

Kate McElwee (Italy & USA)
+393936922100 kmcelwee@womensordination.org

 

Press Release 22 July 2017

Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW) celebrates the feast of St. Mary Magdalene (22 July) with the launch of Dr. Annette Esser’s beautiful original painting, "Longing for the Sun of Justice." The painting symbolizes women’s calling to priesthood, not granted by men in the church, but through Christ.

The painting shows two dissimilar hands varied in shape and color, joining together to resemble a chalice, illuminated by a blazoned sun in the place of a host along a horizon. You may also notice a small cross in the middle of the sun. Made whole and Holy by one another, the hands are united in the Sun, in Christ. 

WOW reaffirms our call for the institutional Church to rid itself of the sin of sexism and model unconditional equality by opening up all ministries to Catholic women who have the talent and vocation to serve their communities as St. Mary Magdalene did.

On the Feast of the "Apostle to the Apostles," we are reminded that Mary Magdalene followed Jesus' call to go and tell the Good News of the Resurrection, inspiring women for centuries to answer God's call to preach, minister, and live the Gospel message of equality.
 
Artist:  © Annette Esser, Oil and Gold on Canvas, 40x50cm (2017)

womensordinationworldwide.org
 

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Women’s Ordination Worldwide (WOW), founded in 1996 at the First European Women's Synod in Austria, is an ecumenical network of national and international groups whose primary mission at this time is the admission of Roman Catholic women to all ordained ministries.

Advocates for women’s ordination to witness for equality on “Vocations Sunday”

Media Advisory

Contact: Alicja Baranowska: (Belgium & Poland)  +32 488 67 60 20    alicja.baranowska@wp.pl

Pat Brown: (UK) +44 7950048628 pat@patbrown-at.co.uk

Colm Holmes: (Ireland)  +353 86 606 3636 colmholmes2020@gmail.com

Kate McElwee: (Italy & USA) +39 393 692 2100 kmcelwee@womensordination.org

Women’s Ordination Worldwide advocates will mark “Vocations Sunday” (May 7th) with prayerful witnesses around the world -- from Dublin to Des Moines -- calling for women’s inclusion into all ministries of the Roman Catholic Church.

May 7th marks the 54th annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations — a day when the global Church prays for the ministers of the Church and for “young men and women to hear and respond generously to the Lord’s call to the priesthood, diaconate, religious life, [and] societies of apostolic life.”

While seemingly inclusive, this language neglects to footnote those ministries where women are rejected, silenced and punished for following their call to ordination. WOW recognizes that women are called to serve at every level of the Church, including the diaconate as well as priesthood.  The Roman Catholic Church’s exclusion of women perpetuates the inequality of women around the world.

On this day, WOW prays that our global Church may transform and renew its institution and practices to become a prophetic voice and witness for global gender justice. We pray that our Church will uphold the Gospel message of equality and honor the vocations and ministries of all its members.

At a time when women are leaving the Church more rapidly than any other group (Pew Research, 2015), and many go without the Eucharist because of a “priesthood shortage,” WOW calls the institutional Church to model equality and open all ministries to women.  

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Women’s Ordination Worldwide (WOW): Founded in 1996, WOW is an international network of groups whose current mission is the inclusion of Roman Catholic women in all ordained ministries. WOW currently includes representatives from Austria, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, India, Malta, Poland, Spain, and the United States. For details of witness locations visit: womensordinationworldwide.org

Pope Francis confirms he has a blind spot regarding women priests

For Immediate Release:

Kate McElwee: (Italy) +39 393 692 2100 kmcelwee@womensordination.org
Pat Brown: (UK) +44 7950048628
pat@patbrown-at.co.uk
Alicja Baranowska: (Belgium & Poland)  +32 488 67 69 20    alicja.baranowska@wp.pl
Colm Holmes: (Ireland)  +353 86 606 3636 colmholmes2020@gmail.com
 
Pope Francis is reported (1 Nov 2016) on a flight from Sweden as saying that the ban on priestly ordination for women will continue forever. Women’s Ordination Worldwide (WOW) sees this as confirmation that Pope Francis has a blind spot as regards women. He prefers to place women high on a pedestal. Yet is was Mary the Mother of Christ who was the first to say: “This is my body, this is my blood.”
 
The oppression and poverty of women and girls around the world is reinforced when women and men are not seen as equally imaging God and this inequality in leadership, governance and ministry is reflected in our Church. It is long past due for the Church to rid itself of the sin of sexism and to welcome women as equal partners in all realms of ministry and leadership.
 
The community of faith recognises that women are called. Time for the church to do likewise.