March 12 Women-Church Convergence Press Release: Where are the Women?

Where are the Catholic women as the Cardinals meet in secrecy to elect from among themselves the next leader of the Catholic Church? Where is the other half of the Conclave?

Some women are protesting in St. Peter’s Square demanding an equal part in the institutional church. Other women are in the parish pews praying for the next pope. But the vast majority of young and seasoned Catholic women are making their own choices about their faith and their lives. They are working to eradicate injustice, ministering to those in need, and celebrating the goodness of creation. They are exercising their moral authority despite the exclusionary ways of the hierarchy.

Knowing that the papal election and the Roman Catholic hierarchical church are designed to exclude them, countless Catholic women are meeting their spiritual needs with resources from outside of clerical hierarchical structures. They have discovered and developed a dynamic paradigm rooted in the message of Jesus focused on equality and community. They are moving beyond the patriarchal hierarchy, creating church communities that are meaningful and nourishing. They are acting with a love for justice that demands no less.

Catholic women invite the cardinals to take off their scarlet robes and leave their privileged places. Let them join with the people of God in a new form of Catholic community, a “discipleship of equals,” that will never again have to ask, “Where are the women?”

Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER)
National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN)
A Critical Mass: Women Celebrating Eucharist
Catholics for Choice Canada
Chicago Women-Church
New Ways Ministry
8th Day Center for Justice Staff
Women-Church of Central New Jersey
Catholics for Choice
BVM Network for Women’s Issues
Congregation Peace with Justice Committee of the
Sisters of Providence
Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC)
Roman Catholic Womenpriests (RCWP)
Association of Roman Catholic Womenpriests (ARCWP)
San Francisco Bay Area Women-Church (SFW-C)