For Immediate Release  February 2, 2015

Pat Brown, (UK) +44 (0) 113 268 2887

Miriam Duignan (USA) +1 510 984 8678

Marilyn Hatton (Australia) +61 2 6262 5275

Kate McElwee, (Italy) +39 393 6922100

The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture’s Plenary Assembly about Women’s Cultures has released its Working Document for the Assembly set to begin on February 4, 2015.  The document yet again shows that the Vatican refuses to read the signs of the times to an unacceptable degree. The international umbrella network, Women’s Ordination Worldwide (founded in 1996 at the First European Women’s Synod), observes several glaring aspects about the document:

The document claims that there will be no discussion on women’s ordination because “according to statistics, [ordination] is not something that women want.”  This undeniable falsehood and the Vatican’s refusal to open dialogue shows contempt for the faithful and demonstrates that as a leadership, the male hierarchy is out of touch with the people it is called to serve. Many qualified women, with the support of their communities, discern vocations to priesthood, and yet the hierarchy is comfortable in rejecting the obvious: God does not discriminate.

The document divides humanity into socially-constructed stereotypes and attempts to say they are “natural,” with corresponding gender-defined roles. This thinking and language have been challenged and rejected in scholarship for decades, and are wildly culturally and spiritually unacceptable.  Human beings exist on multiple continuums, with intersectional identities: without including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people, this document denies the full humanity of God’s people.

Sexism is the original sin of Church leadership.  It is long past due for the Church to rid itself of this sin and to welcome women as equal partners in all realms of ministry and leadership.

The Church’s stance on female inequality in decision-making within our Church (which is so influential in our world) works to legitimize other unjust treatment of women to the point of violence across the world.

From 18-20 September, 2015, Women’s Ordination Worldwide will host it’s third international conference, “Gender, Gospel, and Global Justice,” set to take place in Philadelphia on the Eve of the Vatican’s World Meeting of Families (also in Philadelphia).  We invite the Pontifical Council for Culture and all those who believe “Women’s Culture” is a culture of equality, to join advocates for women’s ordination from around the world to celebrate and support our movement.

Keynote speakers include: Benedictine Sister Teresa Forcades of Spain; Sister Mary John Manazan of the Philippines; Kristina Keneally from Australia; Mary Hunt, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, and Sr. Theresa Kane of the U.S; and Tina Beattie of the U.K.


Women’s Ordination Worldwide (WOW): Founded in 1996, WOW is an international network of groups whose current mission is the inclusion of women in all ordained ministries in the Roman Catholic Church. Founded on the principle of equality, WOW opposes all discrimination. ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus’. (Galatians 3:28)

WOW currently includes representatives from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Malta, Poland, and the United States.

WOW’s 3rd International Conference, ‘Gender, Gospel, and Global Justice’ will be held in Philadelphia 18-20 September 2015. For more