Sr. Elizabeth Davis (RSM), was one of 54 women voting members at the historic “Synod on Synodality” at the Vatican from October 4-29, 2023. In this recording of her January 17 presentation, for which 300 persons registered, she speaks of her experience of being a Synod member, some challenges/opportunities she sees for Catholics world wide, some implications of being “a synodal church in mission”, and her sense of urgency in the importance of Catholics engaging the process more deeply, prior to the next session of the Synod in October 2024.
This Zoom was inspired by the example of nine members of the Catholic Network for Women’s Equality (CNWE) who also went to Rome in October 2023, participated in a “Synod outside the walls”, and met with Elizabeth at that time.
The Zoom was actualized through a unique collaboration among the Catholic Network for Women’s Equality (CNWE-Western region), Reseau Compassion Network (RCN), the Grey Nuns of Montreal (SGM), and the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions (RNDM).
May this video help all of us discern how we can further participate in the process of becoming a Synodal church.
Catholic Network for Women’s Equality (CNWE), Canada welcomes the Vatican declaration (December 18) approving blessings for same-gender couples. The document, “Fiducia Supplicans: On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings” from the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith is a significant and positive shift toward a more inclusive and welcoming Church.
The essence of blessing in a biblical, theological and liturgical sense is an expression of God’s limitless love and is not for Church teaching to withhold. Permitting the blessing of same-gender relationships is a long overdue affirmation that moves the Church toward the full recognition of the God-given dignity and equality of 2SLGBTQ+ persons.
This change is due in large part to the decades-long advocacy of 2SLGBTQ+ Catholics and the groundswell of voices for inclusion that have been raised during the synodal consultations of the last two years. It reflects a level of trust in the authority of the people of God to call the Church hierarchy to love as the greatest good.
As CNWE works toward the equality of women in the Catholic Church, we stand in solidarity with all who remain marginalized by Catholic church teaching and practice. As we celebrate this declaration, we look forward to the continued transformation of the structures of the Church through the synodal process, so that the hope of Pope Francis and Catholics around the world for all – “todos, todos, todos,” – to be welcomed and find their home in the widening tent of the Church as whole persons, blessed and beloved of God.
CNWE members in Canada participated in the Synod in Rome, through prayer, intention and action. Members were encouraged to take a photo of themselves in solidarity, and Sr. Giang Pham put those photos and reflections together, into this 7 minute video on YouTube:
Thursday I was the guest speaker at a luncheon organized by the Centre for Women’s Studies in Theology at the Faculty of Theology, Catholic University of Leuven (Louvain) Belgium. I had been involved in founding the Centre in 1993.
While I was asked to speak to several questions, I did manage to describe what our CNWE team did in Rome, our rationale, and how we did our legwork with the media. Those present were almost all young graduate and doctoral students in theology, and the reaction I heard back was deep disappointment about the misogyny in the Church (using just that term). I was asked if I saw even a tiny crack in the stained-glass ceiling, and I said Yes — just a hairline crack. I let speakers know that they were heard, and encouraged them to hope and to work for reform in this historic moment.
Then I met two longtime friends for coffee, two religious sisters, 86 and 87 years old. And they were interested in what we did as well.
So the tent expands a tiny bit further…