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.
Contacts: Erin Saiz Hanna, 401-588-0457
Marianne Duddy-Burke, 617-669-7810
Women-Church Convergence is a coalition of autonomous Catholic-rooted organizations raising a feminist voice and committed to an ekklesia or 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
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
Women’s Ordination Conference