Press Release: Now is the Time: A Celebration of Women's Call to a Renewed Priesthood in the Catholic Church

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Now is the Time:
A Celebration of Women's Call to a Renewed Priesthood in the Catholic Church
Dublin, Ireland, 29th June to 1st July 2001

PRESS RELEASE issued 2 July 2001

  1. 370 participants from 26 countries and 6 continents gathered in Dublin for this conference titled 'NOW IS THE TIME - A Celebration of Women's call to a Renewed Priesthood in the Catholic Church'.

  2. The main speakers were

    • Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Nobel Peace Prize Winner from Belfast

    • Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Church of England Vicar from London

    • Joan Chittister, Benedictine Sister from Erie, PA., USA.

    • John Wijngaards, Theologian & Webmaster.

  3. Resolutions: 11 Resolutions for future actions to further women's ordination were voted on and approved by the Conference. One resolution, narrowly missing the 60% approval rate, was not approved. This resolution had called for Peter's Pence payment to Rome to be withheld and redirected to organisations supporting women's ordination. Attached to this release is a full list of all the resolutions which were approved, starting with a call to the Pope to revoke the ban on the discussion of women's ordination.

  4. Aruna Gnanadason, from the World Council of Churches, was to have been the key-note speaker on the Friday evening, but was forced to withdraw due to pressure from the Vatican.

  5. International Panel: Six representatives from countries with 'lesser heard voices' addressed the conference, sharing some of the realities of the position of women in both state and church.

    • Velisiwe Mary Mkhwanazi from South Africa

    • Theresa Trujillo from Mexico and the USA

    • Yury del Carmen Puello Orozco from Colombia & Brazil

    • Apollonia Lugemna from Uganda

    • Naoko Iyori from Japan

    • Kornélia Buday from Hungary

  6. Myra Poole who has been a Notre Dame sister for forty two years and who, for the past three years has been the International Coordinator for WOW (Women's Ordination Worldwide), was forbidden by the Vatican to attend this conference. She was told that if she attended this conference she would be expelled from her Order. After much prayer and reflection, she arrived at the Conference on Saturday afternoon, to great acclamation from all the participants.

  7. Joan Chittister of the Benedictine Order in Erie, Pensylvania, and honoured worldwide for her contributions to Spirituality and Theology, was likewise warned by the Vatican not to attend this conference. 135 sisters of the Benedictine Order signed letters of support for the monastic practice of personal responsibility and Joan's decision to attend. Joan insists that "the Benedictines do not adopt a hierarchical approach to obedience, but have a monastic charism that sees discernment and individual responsibility as the basis of an adult obedience." She received a huge standing ovation for her talk.

  8. Soline Vatinel, spokesperson for the WOW conference, declared that "it's success had exceeded our wildest dreams." The packed timetable included prayers, talks, discussions, drafting of resolutions. The conference concluded with a very moving and spiritual Liturgy of Thanksgiving.

  9. Copies of the talks given at the conference are available at

Further information contact Soline Vatinel at Tel +353-1-288 5520 and