CNWE Welcomes Vatican Declaration that Approves Blessings for Same-Gender Couples

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.

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Video: Solidarity with CNWE in Rome

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:

Telling Our Story to German Women

On Friday evening October 13, I was invited to join a group of German women to tell the story of what we nine CNWE folks did in Rome the other week.

The occasion was a weekend pilgrimage in the footsteps of Hildegard of Bingen, directed by Annette Esser of the Scivias Institute in Bad Kreuznach, Germany.  The participants were some 25 women, members of the local branch of the Katholische Deutsche Frauenbund (Catholic German Women’s League, or “kdfb”) from Cologne. The kdfb is one of two large Catholic women’s organizations in Germany that total some 500,000 members.  Many of the women in the Cologne group are also members of Maria 2.0.

While the kdfb is the more progressive of the two organizations, both of them have come out strongly for the admission of women to all ministries in the Catholic church.

I described how CNWE was founded and who we are now.  I sketched the background of the 1971 proposal from the Canadian bishops led by Cardinal Flahiff that the Vatican study admitting women to ordained ministries.  I described how we prepared for the three specific events in Rome, how we made press contacts ahead of time, and how that paid off in terms of press coverage both of our presence and the rationale behind the WOW organizations’ actions.  I even came equipped with our paraphernalia and demonstrated how we decked ourselves out for the Friday march — lanyards, canvas patches on our backs, wearing pink on Wednesday and purple on Friday.  I told of how we had to meet the demands of the Italian police to carry out the march on Friday, walking in silence.

They were delighted with the strong sign of solidarity from Canada.  

And I managed to present it all in reasonably decent German, and with much enthusiasm and excitement (probably very un-German!)

And so we enlarged our own tent a bit.

Susan Roll

Enlarge the Space of Your Tent: Women’s Ordination Advocates at the Opening of Synod 2023

Here is a two minute video, sent out by the U.S. based Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC).  The  “Women’s Walk” they organized (WOC’s Walk as it were!) was one of their actions in which the “CNWE Nine” participated. 

To get a sense of the Women’s Walk on the ground, please enjoy this gorgeous video from that October 4th witness calling the Synod to “Enlarge the space of their tent,” to include the voices and vocations of people of all genders to renewed ordained ministry.

Rome Reflections Day 6

Rev. Roberta Fuller

Rome, the eternal city:

We, CNWE, came for the WOC Vigil for gender equity & we went to the Women’s March for Women’s Rights, – for human rights in our own Roman Catholic Church, yet all this time, we have been in the midst of Rome, the eternal city.

Under the umbrella pines spreading sacred shade & beside the blossoming oleander everywhere, we breathed in the sunshine-filled air of Rome.

CNWE folks were fortunate to stay at the Resurrection Father’s monastery almost atop the Spanish Steps, ten minutes from the Trevi Fountain where, of course, we threw coins in the in the water to be granted traditional wishes.

We passed the vast Basilica of Maria Maggiore, full of magnificent mosaics, stopped at the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, beside the holy steps, then passed infamous Colosseum of gladiator contests to reach the Circus Maximus, site of ancient chariot races. 

History, both glorious & gory surrounded us but beneath the towering palms & between the elegant boutiques & luxurious shops, we found time & space to explore the Catacombs of Priscilla, an early woman priest.

We journeyed to the Basilica of St. Praxedes with Women’s Ordination Conference gathering to pray together for women’s full participation in all ministries imminently.

As CNWE people, we gazed in awe & wonder at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, & so we prayed that justice, equality & inclusion evolve from the ongoing Synod.

Another highlight during our visit on October 4th, the Feast Day of St. Francis, was the release of Pope Francis’ Laudato Deum – the sequel to his definitive encyclical on the climate crisis, Laudato Si’.

Perhaps the true highlight of our focused trip to Rome was the Women’s March through the city on October 6th to not only advertise our mission but also to promote our hope for fair & equal recognition in our own Roman Catholic Church.

We continue to strive in faith for our vision of equal acceptance of unity for all men & women alike to forge a better world together.

Eternal Rome: Eternal hope.

Rev. Roberta Fuller