Press Release on the Election of Cardinal Bergoglio to Pope

Media inquiries:
Atlantic Canada: Cathy Holtmann, (506) 476-1080,
Central Canada: Mary Ellen Chown, (905) 339-0378/905-330-1437,
Western Canada: Veronica Dunne, (204) 219-8118,
Website: Facebook: “Catholic Network for Women’s Equality-Canada”

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a cleric from Argentina has been elected as the new leader of the Roman Catholic church by the all-male conclave at the Vatican. Members of CNWE across Canada wish Pope Francis well and hope to be able to work with him and all others in leadership in the Catholic church in building a more inclusive, just and accountable institution. We pray that the new pope is given the grace to hear and to see the whole People of God. A Church that acts justly will be light and hope to all who face the challenges of these times.

There is much to be done to transform the present culture of patriarchal authoritarianism that has dismally failed to value the full baptismal equality of all Catholics. With over one billion members, the Church is a global institution and the faith of its people can truly be a force for good in the world. CNWE continues to call for the structural changes necessary in order to ensure that the gifts of women are brought to all levels of church ministry and leadership. We believe that there can be unity in diversity but in order for this to become a reality, discussion concerning institutional reforms and moral issues need to be participatory, open and transparent.

As Catholics we draw upon a long history of faith and reason in responding to the signs of our times. CNWE invites all Canadian Catholics to join us in praying that with the election of Pope Francis the time has come for the church to bring an end to the sin of sexism so that we can truly be the Body of Christ – a community of believers among whom the equal dignity of female and male disciples of Christ is honoured. (Gal3:28).

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 13, 2013