Press Release: CNWE Responds to Pink Smoke

CNWE RESPONDS TO “PINK SMOKE RISES” (taking place on Tuesday March 12, 2013 at Piazza Garibaldi in Rome)
Media inquiries:
Atlantic Canada: Cathy Holtmann, (506) 476-1080,
Central Canada: Mary Ellen Chown, (905) 339-0378,
Western Canada: Veronica Dunne, (204) 219-8118,

The process of electing a successor to Pope Benedict XVI, a new leader of the Roman Catholic church, is well underway. CNWE is pleased to support the event “Pink Smoke Rises: A Vigil for Equality in the Catholic Church” taking place in Rome. Representatives from pro-change movements from around the world will join in prayerful action to bring attention to the lack of women’s voices at the papal conclave and to protest the ban on women from all leadership and decision-making positions in the Catholic church.

This vigil is part of an international series of protest vigils in response to the male-only conclave deciding the next pope. Pink smoke is symbolic of all the voices of the Catholic church that go unheard. CNWE members in Canada will hold their own annual Purple Stole Vigils during Holy Week calling all Catholics to repent from the sin of sexism.

CNWE believes that this time of change offers the Catholic Church leadership an opportunity to reflect on its mission and to more fully engage the urgent needs of the Church and its members throughout the world. We call on Catholic leaders to recognize women’s equal dignity as baptized persons in all aspects of life. Under Pope Benedict’s leadership we have witnessed the criminalization of those who support women’s ordination, an about-face on the use of inclusive language in the English mass, the bullying of nuns in the United States and the arbitrary removal of the woman who directed the largest Catholic aid organization in the world. Structural changes are necessary in order to ensure that the gifts of women are brought to all levels of church ministry and leadership. We live in the hope that Catholic leaders will listen and respond to the growing calls for a church that is inclusive, accountable and focused on the work of justice.

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 or visit us on Facebook at “Catholic Network for Women’s Equality – Canada”.

March 11, 2013