CNWE Press Release on Pope Francis’ Remarks Post World Youth Day

CATHOLIC NETWORK FOR WOMEN’S EQUALITY (CNWE)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CNWE WELCOMES POPE FRANCIS’ HOPES FOR GREATER ROLE FOR WOMEN IN THE CHURCH AND HIS GAY POSITIVE COMMENTS. YET CNWE URGES OPEN DIALOGUE ON FULL PARTICIPATION OF WOMEN IN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.
Media inquiries:
Atlantic Canada: Cathy Holtmann, (506) 476-1080, atlantic@cnwe.org
Central Canada: Mary Ellen Chown, central@cnwe.org
Western Canada: Therese Koturbash, (204) 622-7000, western@cnwe.org
Website: www.cnwe.org

The candid responses of Pope Francis to questions at a news conference on his flight home from World Youth Day offer an opportunity for Catholics to listen to the voices of women as well as gay and lesbian persons in their midst.

CNWE welcomes Pope Francis’ desire that Church leadership develop a “truly deep theology of women in the church.” We urge Pope Francis along with Catholic clergy worldwide to listen to the experiences of Catholic women who, along with women of other faiths, make up the majority of the world’s marginalized and poor. A deep theology of women must be a liberation theology. We invite them to also consider the excellent work of Catholic historians and theologians, including Canadians Ellen Leonard, Mary Malone, Catherine Clifford and Denise Couture among many others.

We urge Catholic Church leaders to remove the double standard between Catholic teaching that serves to promote human flourishing and teaching/practices that continue the sin of sexism in the church. Just as the Papal Biblical Commission found no evidence in Scripture to support the exclusion of women from ordination in 1976, neither should Church leadership exclude women from ordination and leadership in 2013.

Pope Francis stated “On the ordination of women, the Church has spoken and said no. Pope John Paul II, in a definitive formulation, said that door is closed.” Vatican II teaching describes the Church as the ‘whole people of God’ and not simply the Pope. It is increasingly clear that the majority of Catholics do not accept the exclusion of women from ordained ministry and leadership. To claim that discussion on the ordination of women is closed does not respect the place of open dialogue and discernment in Catholic life.

The Pope has introduced an encouraging shift regarding papal attitudes toward gay persons. His statement, “If someone is gay, and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” reflects central Catholic teaching on the dignity of every human person, regardless of their sexual orientation. We hope this positive change in tone will lead to a fuller acceptance, both in Catholic teaching and on the part of all Roman Catholics, of healthy homosexual relationships.

Pope Francis’ personal commitment to “walk the talk” of Catholic social justice teaching has encouraged so many to do likewise. The Catholic Church needs to be a leader in promoting the dignity of women and homosexuals by modeling the full equality for all in the life of the church.

For over thirty years members of the Catholic Network for Women’s Equality have shared a faithful commitment to social justice for all women. We celebrate the fact that we are part of a long history of women’s contributions to the Christian faith. Our movement embraces a broad range of Catholic women and men across Canada for whom an inclusive church that is accountable to all of its members is important. Our work for women’s equality in church and world is internationally respected and part of a network of pro-change Catholic movements around the globe. For further information, see www.cnwe.org or visit us on Facebook at “Catholic Network for Women’s Equality – Canada”.

July 31, 2013

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