Help overcome the silence on women’s leadership

An opportunity  to learn more about women’s leadership in the Catholic Church will be open to all when the Voices of Faith conference at the Vatican tackles this topic, with all proceedings live-streamed on Thursday 3 October at 7.30pm AEST.

The issue of women’s ordination is not on the agenda for this conference. Instead, it is focusing on the positions women can currently hold, but are not. It is possible right now within the current structures and laws of the church to have women in high leadership positions — yet only seven women in the whole history of the church have held such positions, with three of those seven appointments occurring in the past two years.

Pope Francis has begun to make change by appointing women in those higher positions, but there is a long way to go. The campaign “overcoming silence”, started by Voices of Faith encourages taking a stand. The website states: “Over half of the 1.2 billion Catholics in the world are women. Decisions that affect all of us, cannot be voiced by half of us. Without female voices in leadership, half the church remains silent.”

The timing of the Voices of Faith conference is particularly important, as this month, another Bishops’ Synod will take place to discern the future of the Catholic Church in Amazonia.

At this synod, discussions will take place, and decisions will be made based on the votes of those in attendance. Yet women religious (who outnumber brothers almost 10 to 1 globally) do not have the right to vote at synods, even though female superiors have the same canonical status as brother superiors. Is this fair?

The first goal of the “overcoming silence” campaign is to ensure that women have voting rights for the first time ever at the Amazonia synod.

Following that, two other goals are on the agenda.

That woman begin assuming Vatican leadership roles, and to begin an official process of change to bring women to leadership roles at all levels in the Catholic Church.

What can you do to get involved?

  1. Watch the conference to get informed — 3 October 7.30pm here.
  2. Visit and write a message to Pope Francis. These messages and photos will be delivered to Pope Francis and Curia leaders on International Women’s Day (8 March) 2020.
  3. You can also become an advocate for overcoming silence campaign and speak to those in your local area of influence. Voices of Faith is hoping that many people take on the campaign as their own.

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Brooke Robinson Image
Brooke Robinson

Brooke is Content Officer for the Communications Team in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle