July 30, 2013


  • Miriam Duignan, WOW Leadership Circle (United Kingdom) t: 011.44.1923.77946; e:
  • Therese Koturbash, WOW Communications Coordinator (Canada) t: 001.204.648.5720: e:
  • Alicja Baranowska, WOW Communications Task Force (Belgium + Poland) e:

'No Women Priests?' WOW Responds to Pope Francis 

On the question of 'women', WOW is alarmed by remarks made by Pope Francis during an interview with international journalists at the end of World Youth Days 2013. While saying that our Church ‘doesn't yet have a truly deep theology of women’, he also said that, on the question of the ordination of women, ‘the church has spoken and said no. John Paul II, in a definitive formulation, said that door is closed.'

The church has spoken? We remind Pope Francis that the church is made up of millions of women and men who have been officially forbidden by the Vatican from even discussing the question of women's ordination. Pope John Paul II may have spoken but he is not the Church. The ban on women priests may have been a definitive expression of prejudice but it was not an infallible ruling and it does not reflect the will or best interests of the people of the Church.

Pope Francis recently called for an elimination of all forms of elitism and said that dialogue is the only way for individuals, families and societies to grow. Yet in trying to close down the question of women’s ordination, Vatican leadership demonstrates how it clings to an elitist vision of an elevated and exclusively male priesthood that stifles growth. In the refusal to dialogue, we are also witnessing a leadership fearful of open examination of the exclusion of women due to the shameful fact that it is based on sexism alone.

No truly deep theology of women in the Church? Pope Francis himself has recognised that ‘women have a special mission in the Church as first witnesses of Christ's  esurrection’ and there are hundreds of documents and studies available on women’s’ active involvement in the Church since the very beginning. We encourage Pope Francis to open his eyes to the plentiful theology available rather than focusing his energy on trying to limit women to non speaking support roles.

No women priests? Perhaps, Pope Francis, it is time to show some more courage. It is long since past time that the Vatican officially opens wide the doors to genuine dialogue on the question of women's ordination in our Church.


Founded in 1996, Women's Ordination Worldwide(WOW) is an international network of groups whose current mission is to see Catholic women admitted to all ordained ministries in the Church. WOW is founded on the gospel principle of equality and therefore opposes any discrimination. 'There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no long 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.







March 13, 2013


• Erin Saiz Hanna - Women’s Ordination Conference (USA): 001.401.588.0457
• Miriam Duignan – (UK/ International): 011.44.1923.779446
• Therese Koturbash – WOW Communications (Canada): 001.204.622.7000

Women's Ordination Worldwide congratulates Pope Francis on his election as pope. 

We take hope from the fact that he is a leader who takes seriously his sense of solidarity with the poor and marginalized. Our prayer is that during his papacy, he will extend that compassion for the marginalized to women in the Church.

Founded in 1996, Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW) is an international network of groups whose current mission is to see Catholic women admitted to all ordained ministries in the Church. WOW is founded on the gospel principle of equality and therefore opposes any discrimination. 'There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no long 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 on the web:
Like us on Facebook!




February 14, 2013


• Alicja Baranowska (Poland):

• Erin Saiz Hanna (USA): +001.401.588.0457;

• Miriam Duignan (UK): +011.44.1923.779446;

• Therese Koturbash (Canada): + 001.204.622.7000;

Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW) Urges New Pope to End Shameful Sin of Sexism in Church

Women's  Ordination  Worldwide  respects  the  courage  shown  by  Pope  Benedict  in honouring  his conscience as he steps down from the papacy on account of failing health. This cannot have been an easy decision. Looking back, Pope Benedict has consistently refused dialogue with the faithful who call for the inclusion of women in all realms of Church leadership. WOW prays that his successor is not chosen with  a  mandate  to  continue  this  negative  path  of  exclusion. The  shameful  culture  of silence surrounding  women's  leadership  only  highlights  the  Vatican's  persistent  failure  to uphold  the Church’s own teaching on the primacy of conscience. We hope that in his last acts of guidance, Pope Benedict will show courage in urging future leadership to end the sin of sexism and open the doors to equal partnership with women and dialogue. Love can conquer fear.


Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW):  Founded in 1996, WOW is an international network of groups whose current mission is the inclusion of Roman Catholic women in all ordained ministries. 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.




November 27, 2012


• Erin Saiz Hanna - Women’s Ordination Conference (USA):  001.401.588.0457

• Miriam Duignan – (UK/ International): 011.44.1923.779446

• Therese Koturbash – WOW Communications (Canada): 001.204.622.7000

The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers have announced that the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has dismissed and canonically stripped Roy Bourgeois of his status as a priest because of his support for women's ordination.

Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW) is dismayed to learn that Roy Bourgeois has been stripped of his status as a priest because of his support for women's ordination.  'In a Church that upholds primacy of conscience as a central tenet of faith,' says WOW Leadership Circle member Miriam Duignan of the UK, 'it is disturbing that a pastor of outstanding character like Roy Bourgeois – a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, a Vietnam veteran decorated with the Purple Heart – is excommunicated, dismissed and laicised on account of what is deemed to be the grave offence of actively advocating the ordination of women as priests.

Grave Scandal

The CDF and now Maryknoll leaders say that Roy Bourgeois's witness and subsequent refusal to recant his support for an inclusive priesthood causes grave scandal to the Church. This may be so to them but in the eyes of the faithful, even graver scandals lie in the facts that:

  • Catholic faithful are officially forbidden from merely talking about women's ordination even though theological scholarship clearly supports it
  • in the twenty-first century, women are still excluded from Catholic sacramental ministry even though the majority of Catholics know from their sense of faith that Jesus would not exclude women
  • While Roy Bourgeois endures the severest sanctions possible, remaining untouched in office and sometimes even elevated to higher positions are Bishops who not only failed to protect children from paedophile priests but in many cases, actively manipulated systems so as to protect those paeodophile priests from scrutiny.  On this count, at least one Bishop was recently criminally convicted of this. His current status is that of Bishop is in good standing.

No Reason to Exclude Women

When an informed examination is made of the attempts the Vatican makes to justify excluding women from sacred ministry, it is clear that:

  • there is absolutely no reason in scripture, theology, or the tradition of the Church to support a male only priesthood.  This is evidenced in the huge body of studies available on the academic website   
  • for century after century, cascading prejudice against women has continued to creep into the Church as though that prejudice were truth! This prejudice now underpins the Vatican's official rationale for the exclusion of women.

The Duty of the Faithful

Church teaching recognises that it is from the hearts of the faithful that truth can emerge. To this end, canon law 212§3 provides that:

'the Christian faithful have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and they have a right to make their opinion known to the other Christian faithful, with due regard for the integrity of faith and morals and reverence towards their pastors, and with consideration for the common good and dignity of persons.'

Women's Ordination Worldwide stands strong in saying that  is time both to end the ban against official dialogue about this matter and to end the Vatican’s tyrannical bullying of Catholics who speak out for the Gospel value of gender equality and their concerns for the Eucharist and sacramental ministry.


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


WOMEN'S ORDINATION WORLDWIDE (W0W) Challenges Pope Benedict to Include Women in Church Leadership as Church Celebrates Proclamation of 12th  Century Feminist to be 4th woman Doctor of the Church in 2,000 years


October 7, 2012

  • Erin Saiz Hanna: 401.588.0457
  • Therese Koturbash: 204.648.5720

WOW Praises Pope Benedict for elevating Hildegard of Bingen to 4thWoman Doctor of Church

 – Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW) joins Pope Benedict in celebrating as he proclaims Hildegard of Bingen to be the 4th woman Doctor of the Church. 

An environmentalist, composer, writer, and spiritual director,  Hildegard was a 12th century modern feminist of her time who was fiercely sanctioned by Church authorities for her outspoken criticism of their wrongdoings.

WOW Communications Coordinator, Therese Koturbash observes:  'While the  Pope presents Hildegard as an inspiration for women of today,  considering that his administration freely levies sanctions against modern women who challenge  Church leadership to do better for women, we take little comfort in knowing that were she alive today, Hildegard, on account of her outspokenness, would still be an outsider.'

Hildegard now joins other ancient and long since deceased women -- Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila and Therese of Lisieux -- as the only women Doctors of the Church in its 2,000 year old history.

On this day in particular, Hildegard's elevation begs the question, 'When will this Pope welcome modern living feminist women to equally participate with men in all levels of Church ministry and leadership?' 

Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW):  Founded in 1996, WOW is an international network of groups whose current mission is the inclusion of Roman Catholic women in all ordained ministries. 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.



Women’s Ordination Worldwide (WOW) is gravely disheartened to learn that the Vatican has forced Australia’s Bishop Wm. Morris into early retirement because of his suggestion to open dialogue about women’s ordination. Morris’s pastorally sensitive suggestion was made out of his concern for growing numbers of Catholics being deprived of the Eucharist due to priest shortages.






Read More


February 24, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: WOW Congratulates German Theologians for Call for Women's Ordination

Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW) applauds and stands in solidarity with the now more than 225 courageous theologians from Austria, Germany and Switzerland who publicly name the ordination of women and open dialogue about structures of participation as urgent reforms needed in the Catholic Church ( (see English translation below).

We join the theologians in calling 2011 a ‘Year of Departure' for the Church. Let this 'Year of Departure' be the year when the Church parts ways with the archaic arguments and excuses used to exclude women from priesthood. We urge our Church leaders to enter into dialogue both with women who experience a call to priesthood and with Catholic priests and laity who believe that that call comes from God.

We pray that the Church will soon welcome and nourish to the full the gifts of women as priests, prophets and leaders, knowing, as Mary of Nazareth knew, that with God all things are possible.

# # #

WOW 2010-2011 Leadership Circle

• Colette Joyce (New Wine - United Kingdom)
• Erin Saiz Hanna (WOC - Women's Ordination Conference - USA)
• Saoirse Bann (BASIC - Ireland)
• Therese Koturbash (CNWE - Catholic Network For Women's Equality - Canada)

Founded in 1996, Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW) is an international network of groups whose mission is the admission of Roman Catholic women to all ordained ministries. WOW is founded on the principle of equality and therefore opposes any 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)

February 4, 2011

Memorandum of Theology Professors Speaking About Crisis in the Catholic Church

A Year of Departure: German Theologians Call for Reform'

By coincidence, today is not only a "Day of Departure" in Egypt. It is also the day on which 143 theologians from Austria, German, and Switzerland have signed a statement calling for a "Year of Departure" - for structural reforms in the Catholic Church in the wake of the sex abuse scandals.

The Church in 2011: A Necessary Departure

It is over a year since cases of sexual abuse of children and youth by priests and religious at the Canisius School in Berlin were made public. Thereupon followed a year that plunged the Catholic Church in Germany into an unequaled crisis. Today, a split image is projected. Much has been undertaken to do justice to the victims, to come to terms with the wrong done, and to search out the causes of abuse, cover-up, and double standards within the Church's own ranks. Many responsible Christians, women and men, in office and unofficially, have come to realize, after their initial disgust, that deep-reaching reforms are necessary. The appeal for an open dialogue on structures of power and communication, the form of official church offices, and the participation of the faithful in taking responsibility for morality and sexuality have aroused expectations, but also fears. This might be the last chance for departure from paralysis and resignation. Will this chance be missed by sitting out or minimizing the crisis? Not everyone is threatened by the unrest of an open dialogue without taboos - especially since the papal visit [to Germany] will soon take place. The alternative simply cannot be accepted: the "rest of the dead" because the last hopes have been destroyed.

The deep crisis of our Church demands that we address even those problems which, at first glance, do not have anything directly to do with the abuse scandal and its decades-long cover-up. As theology professors, women and men, we can keep silence no longer. We consider ourselves responsible for contributing to a true new beginning: 2011 must be a Year of Departure for the Church. In the past year, more Christians than ever before have withdrawn from the Catholic Church. They have officially terminated their legal membership, or they have privatized their spiritual life in order to protect it from the institution. The Church must understand these signs and pull itself from ossified structures in order to recover new vitality and credibility.

The renewal of church structures will succeed, not with anxious withdrawal from society, but only with the courage for self-criticism and the acceptance of critical impulses - including those from the outside. This is one of the lessons of the last year: the abuse crisis would not have been dealt with so decisively without the critical accompaniment of the larger public. Only through open communication can the Church win back trust. The Church will become credible when only its image of itself is not removed so far from the image others have of the Church. We turn to all those who have not yet given up hope for a new beginning in the Church and who work for this. We build upon the signals of departure and dialogue which some bishops have given in recent months in speeches, homilies, and interviews.

The Church does not exist for its own sake. The church has the mission to announce the liberating and loving God of Jesus Christ to all people. The Church can do this only when it is itself a place and a credible witness of the good news of the Gospel. The Church's speaking and acting, its rules and structures - its entire engagement with people within and outside the Church - is under the standard of acknowledging and promoting the freedom of people as God's creation. Absolute respect for every person, regard for freedom of conscience, commitment to justice and rights, solidarity with the poor and oppressed: these are the theological foundational standards which arise from the Church's obligation to the Gospel. Through these, love of God and neighbor become tangible.

Finding our orientation in the biblical Good News implies a differentiated relationship to modern society. When it comes to acknowledgement of each person's freedom, maturity, and responsibility, modern society surpasses the Church in many respects. As the Second Vatican Council emphasized, the Church can learn from this. In other respects, critique of modern society from the spirit of the Gospel is indispensable, as when people are judged only by their productivity, when mutual solidarity disintegrates, or when the dignity of the person is violated.

This holds true in every case: the Good News of the Gospel is the standard for a credible Church, for its action and its presence in society. The concrete demands which the Church must face are by no means new. And yet, we see hardly any trace of reform-oriented reforms. Open dialogue on these questions must take place in the following spheres of action.

1. Structures of Participation: In all areas of church life, participation of the faithful is a touchstone for the credibility of the Good News of the Gospel. According to the old legal principle "What applies to all should be decided by all," more synodal structures are needed at all levels of the Church. The faithful should be involved in the naming of important officials (bishop, pastor). Whatever can be decided locally should be decided there. Decisions must be transparent.

2. Community: Christian communities should be places where people share spiritual and material goods with one another. But community life is eroding presently. Under the pressure of the priesthood shortage, larger and larger administrative entities (Size "Extra Large" Parishes) are constructed in which neighbourliness and sense of belonging can hardly be experienced anymore. Historical identity and built-up social networks are given up. Priests are "overheated" and burn out. The faithful stay away when they are not trusted to share responsibility and to participate in democratic structures in the leadership of their communities. Church office must serve the life of communities - not the other way around. The Church also needs married priests and women in church ministry.

3. Legal culture: Acknowledgement of the dignity and freedom of every person is shown when conflicts are borne fairly and with mutual respect. Canon law deserves its name only when the  faithful can truly make use of their rights. It is urgent that the protection of rights and legal culture be improved. A first step is the development of administrative justice in the Church.

4. Freedom of Conscience: Respect for individual conscience means placing trust in people's ability to make decisions and carry responsibility. It is the task of the Church to support this capability. The Church must not revert to paternalism. Serious work needs to be done especially in the realm of personal life decisions and individual manners of life. The Church's esteem for marriage and unmarried forms of life goes without saying. But this does not require that we exclude people who responsibly live out love, faithfulness, and mutual care in same-sex partnerships or in a remarriage after divorce.

5. Reconciliation: Solidarity with "sinners" presupposes that we take seriously the sin within our own ranks. Self-justified moral rigorism ill befits the Church. The Church cannot preach reconciliation with God if it does not create by its own actions the conditions for reconciliation with those before whom the Church is guilty: by violence, by withholding rights, by turning the biblical Good News into a rigorous morality without mercy.

6. Worship: The liturgy lives from the active participation of all the faithful. Experiences and forms of expression of the present day must have their place. Worship services must not become frozen in traditionalism. Cultural diversity enriches liturgical life, but the tendency toward centralized uniformity is in tension with this. Only when the celebration of faith takes account of concrete life situations will the Church's message reach people.

The already-begun dialogue process in the Church can lead to liberation and departure when all participants are ready to take up the pressing questions. We must lead the Church out of its crippling preoccupation with itself through a free and fair exchange of arguments and solutions. The tempest of the last year must not be followed by restful quietness! In the present situation, this could only be the "rest of the dead." Anxiety has never been a good counselor in times of crisis. Female and male Christians are compelled by the Gospel to look to the future with courage, and walk on water like Peter as Jesus said to him, "Why do you have fear? Is your faith so weak?"

- Translation by awr


The signatories of "The Church in 2011: A Necessary Departure"

Albus, Michael, University of Freiburg

Anzenbacher, Arno, University of Mainz

Arens, Edmund, University of Lucerne

Autiero, Antonio; University of Munster

Bäumer, Franz Josef, University of Giessen

Baumgartner, Isidor, University of Passau4

Bechmann, Ulrike, University of Graz

Belok, Manfred, Theological University of Chur

Benk, Andreas, Pedagogical University of Swabian-Gmünd

Bieberstein, Klaus, University of Bamberg

Bieberstein, Sabine, Catholic University of Eichstätt

Biesinger, Albert, University of Tubingen

Bischof, Franz Xaver, University of Munich

Blasberg-Kuhnke, Martina, University of Osnabruck

Böhnke, Michael, University of Wuppertal

Bopp, Karl SDB, Philosophical-Theological University of Benediktbeuern

Bremer, Thomas, University of Münster

Brosseder, Johannes, University of Cologne

Broer, Ingo, University of Siegen

Bucher, Anton A., University of Salzburg

Collet, Giancarlo, University of Munster

Dautzenberg, Gerhard, University of Giessen

Demel, Sabine, University of Regensburg

Droesser, Gerhard, University of Wurzburg

Eckholt, Margit, University of Osnabruck

Emunds, Bernhard, Philotophical-Theological University of St. Georgen

Ernst, Stephan, University of Wurzburg

Feiter, Reinhard, University of Munster

Franz, Albert, University of Dresden

Frevel, Christian, University of Bochum5

Fröhling, Edward SAC, Philisophical-Theological University of Vallendar

Fuchs, Ottmar, University of Tubingen

Fürst, Alfons, University of Munster

Gabriel, Karl, University Munster

Garhammer, Erich, University of Wurzburg

Göllner, Reinhard, University of Bochum

Görtz, Heinz-Jürgen, University of Hannover

Goertz, Stephan, University of Mainz

Grümme, Bernhard, Pedagogical University of Ludwigsburg

Häfner, Gerd, University of Munich

Haker, Hille, University of Frankfurt am Main / Chicago

Hartmann, Richard, Theology Department of Fulda

Heimbach-Steins, Marianne, University of Munster

Heinz, Hanspeter, University of Augsburg

Hemel, Ulrich, University of Regensburg

Hengsbach, Friedhelm SJ, Philisophical-Theological University of St. Georgen

Hilberath, Bernd-Jochen, University of Tubingen

Hilpert, Konrad, University of Munich

Höfer, Rudolf, University of Graz

Höhn, Hans-Joachim, University of Cologne

Hoffmann, Johannes, University of Frankfurt am Main

Hoffmann, Paul, University of Bamberg

Holderegger, Adrian, University of Freiburg(Switzerland)

Holzem, Andreas, University of Tubingen6

Hünermann, Peter, University of Tubingen

Jäggle, Martin, University of Vienna

Jorissen, Hans, University of Bonn

Kampling, Rainer, University of Berlin

Karrer, Leo, University of Freiburg (Switzerland)

Kern, Walter, Pedagogical University of Ludwigsburg

Kessler, Hans, University of Frankfurt am Main

Kienzler, Klaus, University of Augsburg

Kirchschläger, Walter, University of Lucerne

Knobloch, Stefan, OFMCap, University of Mainz

Könemann, Judith, University of Munster

Kohler-Spiegel, Helga, Pedagogical University of Feldkirch/Vorarlberg

Kos, Elmar, University of Vechta

Kraus, Georg, University of Bamberg

Kruip, Gerhard, University of Mainz

Kügler, Joachim, University of Bamberg

Kuhnke, Ulrich, University of Osnabruck

Kuld, Lothar, Pedagogical University of Weingarten

Ladenhauf, Karl-Heinz, University of Graz

Lang, Bernhard, University of Paderborn

Langer, Wolfgang, Perchtolsdorf

Lesch, Karl Josef, University of Vechta

Loretan, Adrian, University of Lucerne

Lüdicke, Klaus, University of Munster7

Ludwig, Heiner, University of Darmstadt

Lutterbach, Hubertus, University of Duisburg-Essen

Maier, Joachim, Schriesheim

Meier, Johannes, University of Mainz

Mennekes, Friedhelm SJ, Cologne

Merks, Karl-Wilhelm, Bonn

Mette, Norbert, Technical University of Dortmund

Michel, Andreas, University of Cologne

Mieth, Dietmar, Universities of Erfurt and Tubingen

Missala, Heinrich, University of Duisburg-Essen

Möhring-Hesse, Matthias, University of Vechta

Mooney, Hilary, Pedagogical University of Weingarten

Müller, Klaus, University of Munster

Müllner, Ilse, University of Cassel

Nauer, Doris, Philisophical-Theological University of Vallendar

Neuner, Peter, University of Munich

Niederschlag, Heribert SAC, Philisophicl-Theological University Vallendar

Odenthal, Andreas, University of Tubingen

Ollig, Hans-Ludwig SJ, Philosophical-Theological University of St. Georgen

Pellegrini, Silvia, University of Vechta

Pemsel-Maier, Sabine, Pedagogical University of Karlsruhe

Pesch, Otto Hermann, University of Hamburg

Pock, Johann, University of Vienna

Poplutz, Uta, University of Wuppertal8

Porzelt, Burkard, University of Regensburg

Raske, Michael, University of Frankfurt am Main

Richter, Klemens, University of Munster

Roebben, Bert, University Dortmund

Rotter, Hans, University of Innsbruck

Sauer, Ralph, University of Vechta

Schäper, Sabine, Catholic Polytechnic University of Munster

Schmälzle, Udo, University of Munster

Schmidt, Thomas M., University of Frankfurt am Main

Schmiedl, Joachim, Philisophical-Theological University of Vallendar

Schockenhoff, Eberhard, University of Freiburg

Scholl, Norbert, Pedagogical University of Heidelberg

Schulz, Ehrenfried, University of Munich

Schreiber, Stefan, University of Augsburg

Schreijaeck, Thomas, University of Frankfurt am Main

Schüller, Thomas, University of Munster

Schüngel-Straumann, Helen, University of Cassel / Basel

Seeliger, Hans-Reinhard, University of Tubingen

Siller, Hermann Pius, University of Frankfurt am Main

Simon, Werner, University of Mainz

Spiegel, Egon, University of Vechta

Steinkamp, Hermann, University of Munster

Steins, Georg, University of Osnabruck

Stosch, Klaus von, University of Paderborn9

Striet, Magnus, University of Freiburg

Strotmann, Angelika, University of Paderborn

Theobald, Michael, University of Tubingen

Trautmann, Franz, Pedagogical University of Swabian-Gmünd

Trautmann, Maria, Catholic University of Eichstätt

Trocholepczy, Bernd, University of Frankfurt am Main

Vogt, Markus, University of Munich

Wacker, Marie-Theres, University of Munster

Wahl, Heribert, University of Trier

Walter, Peter, University of Freiburg

Weirer, Wolfgang, University of Graz

Wendel, Saskia, University of Cologne

Wenzel, Knut, University of Frankfurt am Main

Werbick, Jürgen, University of Munster

Willers, Ulrich, Catholic University of Eichstätt

Ziebertz, Hans-Georg, University of Wurzburg

Zwick, Reinhold, University of Munster



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 13, 2010

US Contact: Erin Saiz Hanna, Women's Ordination Conference, Executive Director/ WOW Leadership
e:, t: + (202) 675-1006

UK Contact: Therese Koturbash, WOW Leadership
e:, t: +44(-0)1923 779 446

Women's Ordination Advocates Support Day of Action on September 26, 2010

Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW) stands in solidarity with Catholic women in Ireland who call for a widespread boycott of Mass on Sunday, September 26, 2010.

"Women make up 60% of Mass-goers and 80% of lay ministers. If each one of us took action on one single day, there is no doubt that this would be a powerful and significant event," stated Erin Saiz Hanna, Executive Director of the Washington, D.C. based Women's Ordination Conference (WOC), the oldest and largest advocacy group in support of women's ordination. "The practical, financial, and political implications would be substantial to say the least," Hanna continued.

Jennifer Sleeman, an active Catholic from Cork, Ireland initiated this movement when she urged women of Ireland to send a message to the Vatican that "women are tired of being treated as second-class citizens in the Church." This call which began with one woman is now spreading beyond the shores of Ireland as women around the world link arms together for participation in the day of action.

In solidarity with Sleeman, WOW supports her call for justice for women in the Catholic Church. Recognizing the many different ways of bearing witness to the institutional sin of sexism that marginalizes women in the Church, on September 26th, 2010 WOW encourages people of Catholic faith to consider organizing one of the following options for their parish communities:

  • Withhold Funds: Instead of making a donation at collection time, place a note in the collection basket that expresses your support for women's ordination.

  • Wear green armbands to Mass.

  • Boycott Mass: Grieving the Church's sin of sexism, participate in a prayerful fast from mass.  Gather together in one of the many other meaningful ways in which the Eucharist can be celebrated


Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW), was founded in 1996 at the First European Women's Synod in Gmunden, Austria. It is an ecumenical network of national and international groups whose primary mission at this time is the admission of Roman Catholic women to all ordained ministries. WOW is founded on the principle of equality and therefore opposes any 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 affirms the God-given diversity of humanity and is committed to providing a model of collaborative, non-hierarchical leadership.


For Immediate Release

June 8, 2010

Contact: Erin Saiz Hanna, or (202) 675-1006, U.S. mobile in Rome 011-39-401-588-0457

Women's Ordination Advocates Hold Press Conference During Vatican Year for Priests Celebration, Vigil Calling on Pope to Ordain Women

ROME, ITALY - Today, at 11:00 o'clock in the office of redazione di ADISTA, Via Acciaioli 7, 00186 Roma, representatives of Catholic organizations from around the world called for the full and equal participation of women in the Roman Catholic Church, including ordination as deacons, priests and bishops. The remarks came during a press conference held by Women's Ordination Worldwide and other pro-ordination groups held in Rome to protest the Vatican's "Year for Priests" celebration, which begins tomorrow. After the press conference, the groups staged a vigil in St. Peter's Square.

"The absolute hypocrisy of the ‘Year for Priests' celebration cuts to the core of what is wrong with the hierarchy today," said Erin Saiz Hanna, executive director of the U.S. based Women's Ordination Conference. "The Vatican is all too happy to turn a blind eye when men in its ranks destroy the lives of children and families, but jumps at the chance to excommunicate women who, in good conscience, are prophetically answering their call to ordination and responding to needs of their communities."

On June 19, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI declared a ‘Year for Priests' to celebrate and honor the male, clerical, priesthood. From June 9-11, 2010, the year-long celebration culminates with an international gathering of priests hosted by Pope Benedict in Rome to pay tribute to their work.

"At the end of a disappointing ‘Year for Priests' and a disastrous year for the Roman Catholic Church we call for a Decade of the People of God," stated Angelika Fromm, representative from International Movement We are Church and the Purple Stole Movement in Germany. "The current global crisis within the church demonstrates that the clerical hierarchy alone can't serve any longer as the foundation of the Catholic church's institutional structure and authority." Fromm continued, "Our church urgently needs large numbers of male and female pastors to serve our parishes. Charisma should be important, not gender."

Therese Koturbash, a Canadian lawyer and International Coordinator of the campaign, stated,"Thanks to historical research, we now know conclusively that women did receive the sacrament of Holy Orders, at least in the diaconate. And we know that the Council of Trent stated clearly that the diaconate is part of Holy Orders. However, somewhere along the way, the door to women slammed shut." Koturbash continued, "During this ‘Year for Priests,' we have asked that women's historical service in Holy Orders be remembered and that reforms be put in motion to welcome women into priesthood! Women can and should be priests."

Mary Ann M. Schoettly, ordained through Roman Catholic Womenpriests (RCWP), an international initiative within the Roman Catholic Church that advocates for a new model of priestly ministry, stated, "After years of considerable study and reflection, the women of RCWP are following their well formed consciences and accepting the gift of ordination."

According to the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, in a statement published on May 29, 2008 published in L'Observatorio Romano, the Vatican's official newspaper, all Roman Catholic Womenpriests and the bishops who ordain them are automatically excommunicated, known as latae sententiae.

Schoettly continued, "Roman Catholic Womenpriests reject the penalty of excommunication. We are loyal members of the church who stand in the prophetic tradition of holy obedience to the Spirit's call to change an unjust law that discriminates against us."

"The discrimination against women in faith communities and in particular by the Catholic Church underpins the violence against women in everyday life," stated Mary Leslie of Catholic Women's Ordination, UK.

Colette Joyce from New Wine, another UK based group, continued, "It is very difficult for a Catholic woman active in her own parish and community to come forward and say this is her calling because there is nowhere for her to take it. I want to talk to the leaders of my church about women's ordination - not journalists - but every time I try the door is continually being closed."

In 1976, the Biblical Commission of Pope Paul VI determined there was no scriptural reason to prohibit women's ordination. Despite the Commission's finding, the pope issued a statement later that year declaring the Vatican is not authorized to ordain women. In 1994, Pope John Paul II officially closed discussion of the subject. Today, an overwhelming Catholics support the issue, yet people who work for the church can be fired if they even talk about women priests.

"For far too long, only ordained, male, celibate clergy have dictated -or tried to dictate- how Catholics worship, pray and make decisions," concluded Hanna. "Canon 1024, which states that only men can validly receive the sacrament of ordination, is unjust and does not value the gospel message of Jesus. It must be changed."


Women's Ordination Worldwide, founded in 1996, is an ecumenical network, whose primary mission at this time is the admission of Roman Catholic women to all ordained ministries.

Catholic Women's Ordination (CWO) is a national group of women and men in the UK (including Scotland and Wales) who seek a renewed model of priesthood in the Catholic Church so that there is proper scope for the distinctive ministry of ordained women within it. Renewal of the Church is our first aim but the importance of women's ministry is integral to that, as is women's leadership within the church. Contact: Mary Leslie,

Housetop's is the largest internet site providing information and documentation on the ordination of women. Though its focus is on the Catholic Church, its work benefits all Christian Churches. Offering thousands of documents in English and 24 other languages, the website covers decrees of councils and synods, the teaching of the Fathers of the Church, medieval theologians, recent papal decrees, contemporary articles and ongoing discussions on scripture, tradition and the teaching authority of the Church. Contact Therese Koturbash,

International Movement We are Church (IMWAC), Founded in Rome in 1996, is committed to the renewal of the Roman Catholic Church on the basis of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the theological spirit developed from it. We are Church evolved from the Church Referendum in Austria in 1995 that was started after the paedophilia scandal around Vienna's former Cardinal Groer. We are Church is represented in more than twenty countries on all continents and is networking world-wide with similar-minded reform groups. Contact: Christian Weisner, or Angelika Fromm, or mobile in Rome: +49-177-9224542

Lila Stola (Purple Stole Movement) founded in 1996 in Mainz/Germany, is a section of We are Church that is active in promoting full equality of women in the Roman Catholic Church. At ordination ceremonies of male deacons and priests women as well as men regularly demonstrate for the renewal of ministry wearing purple stoles as their symbol. Purple is the colour of the women's movement as well as the ecclesiastic colour of repentance and new beginning. Contact: Angelika Fromm or mobile in Rome: +49-177-9224542

New Wine is a group for women who live in Great Britain and provides an informal context for the mutual support, nourishment, and development of women in the Roman Catholic tradition, who believe they are called by God and by the community to ordained ministry in that tradition. Contact: Colette Joyce,

Roman Catholic Womenpriests (RCWP) is an international initiative within the Roman Catholic Church that advocates for a new model of priestly ministry united with the people with whom they serve.  The movement is an initiative within the Church that began with the ordination of seven women on the Danube River in 2002. Women bishops ordained in full apostolic succession continue to carry on the work of ordaining others in the Roman Catholic Church. Contact Mary Ann Schoettly,

Women's Ordination Conference, founded in 1975 and based in Washington, D.C., the is the oldest and largest national organization working for the ordination of women as priests, deacons, and bishops into an inclusive and accountable Roman Catholic Church. WOC also promotes new perspectives on ordination that call for less separation between the clergy and laity. Contact: Erin Saiz Hanna, or U.S. mobile in Rome 011-39-401-588-0457


PRESS RELEASE: For immediate release 24 November 2008

Worldwide network protests excommunication of Maryknoll priest Roy Bourgeois

Women’s Ordination Worldwide (WOW) is deeply angered at the Vatican’s threatened excommunication of Father Roy Bourgeois, the Maryknoll priest who has spoken in support of the ordination of Roman Catholic women.

Father Roy, a priest for 36 years, served as a missionary in South America and is well-known for his opposition to the USA’s military activity in the former ‘School of the Americas.’ He is the latest in a distinguished line of courageous men and women who, over the years, have risked censure or disciplinary proceedings from the Roman Catholic hierarchy by speaking out on women’s ordination. At WOW’s first international conference in Dublin (2001), Vatican pressure forced the withdrawal of the keynote speaker, Aruna Gnanadason, of the World Council of Churches. Considerable distress was caused to two other speakers, Sister Joan Chittister OSB and Sister Myra Poole SND, who were threatened with serious consequences if they attended. WOW reminds the Vatican of the words of Chittister’s Prioress, Sister Christine Vladimiroff, who, in her statement of support for Chittister, wrote, ‘There is a fundamental difference in the understanding of obedience within the monastic tradition and that which is being used by the Vatican to exert power and control and prompt a false sense of unity inspired by fear.’

WOW has sent a strongly-worded letter on Fr Roy’s behalf to the American papal nuncio and to the Vatican, and has also written to the Maryknoll community. ‘Since Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, Roman Catholic women who feel called to ordained ministry, and those who support them, have been silenced,’ commented Jennifer Stark, coordinator of Women’s Ordination Worldwide. ‘They have no voice within the Church’s structures to make their views heard. In this context, as many others have pointed out, excommunication is a penalty out of all proportion to the supposed offence.’

The support that continues to flood in for Father Roy demonstrates that the Vatican is tragically out of touch with the people it is supposed to serve. It is also failing to uphold the Roman Catholic Church’s own teaching on the primacy of conscience. It is time to call a halt to this bullying of committed Catholics whose concern is to make the Gospel message of love, justice and compassion a reality for the world, and to enable the Church to serve all of humanity by enabling the gifts of men and women alike. Father Roy’s stance has grown out of a lifetime’s work on peace and justice issues, inspired by that very Gospel message. WOW urges the Maryknoll community to support his right to speak on this issue, and calls on the Catholic faithful, including bishops and church leaders everywhere, to oppose the decree of excommunication.

Women’s Ordination Worldwide was founded in 1996 at the First European Women’s Synod in Gmunden, Austria. It is an ecumenical network of fifteen national and international organizations working for the full inclusion of women in all ordained ministries.



Worldwide network challenges Pope on excommunications and sexism in the church

Women’s Ordination Worldwide (WOW) expresses profound dismay at the recent decree by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, which automatically excommunicates anyone involved in the ordination of women priests. With this decree, the Vatican attempts to reinforce its ban on the discussion of women’s ordination among faithful Catholics who are gravely concerned for the future of pastoral ministry.

In its obstinate refusal to test women's priestly vocations, the Vatican fails in its duty to ensure the faithful receive the sacramental pastoral care to which they are entitled. The conviction of the Church has always been that genuine vocations come from God. Though no one has the right to be ordained, the Vatican persists in its flagrant discrimination against women by refusing even to consider their call to priesthood. The fact that many responsible women, together with their communities, discern vocations to ordained ministry is a sign from the Holy Spirit. Vatican actions which block such a sign show nothing but contempt for the sensus fidelium and demonstrate that the hierarchy is tragically out of touch with the people it is called to serve.

In baptism, women and men share equally in the priesthood of Christ. Baptism implies a fundamental openness to all sacraments, including Holy Orders. The history of the Church documents the ordination of women.  Jennifer Stark, coordinator of WOW, commented, ‘This is a global issue. In many countries around the world, the exclusion of women from ordained ministry, and thus from the decision-making structures of a worldwide church, has profound effects for their position and well being, and that of their children. It signals that they are lesser beings in the eyes of God.’

WOW calls on all to act against the unjust laws that exclude women from the sacrament of Holy Orders. We ask Pope Benedict XVI to follow Christ’s gospel imperative by liberating the church from the sin of sexism. We urge bishops throughout the world to recognize and act on their episcopal responsibility to their people. We further urge them to use their voice to challenge the legitimacy of this decree and the ban on discussion of women’s ordination.


Women’s Ordination Worldwide was established during the First European Women’s Synod in Gmunden, Austria in 1996. It is a network of national and international organisations working for the inclusion of women in all ordained ministries. WOW has hosted two international conferences (Dublin 2001 and Ottawa 2005) and plans to hold a third conference in California in 2010.


JULY 14, 2005 

CONTACT: Women's Ordination Worldwide 
Marie Bouclin, 705-524-5418,
Virginia Lafond, 613-728-6908,
Joanna Manning, 416-599-1244,

Women Reject Attempts to Silence Discussion on Ordination
Why is the church so afraid of us?

OTTAWA - July 14 - Local committee organizers of the WOW conference are saddened by the negative remarks of Archbishop Marcel Gervais and other local clergy denouncing the upcoming WOW Conference to be held at Carleton University, July 22-24 and forbidding Catholics to talk about women’s ordination.

“The hierarchy’s attempt to shut down any discussion on women priests is a reaction that does not manifest confidence in their arguments,” says Marie Bouclin, spokesperson for WOW. “It’s too bad they don’t take this as an opportunity to celebrate the great contribution of women in all the churches. The Catholic priesthood,” she adds, “would have so much to gain from women’s leadership and experience.”

A recent article in the Ottawa Citizen contained a statement from a member of the clergy to the effect that because men can’t have babies then women can’t be Fathers in the Church. “To build the theology of priesthood around this level of argument is quite pathetic,” says Virginia Lafond of the WOW hosting committee. “We would love to have the clergy come to the conference, listen to our highly qualified speakers, and celebrate our unity as women and men, equal members of the one Body of Christ.”

Several women priests from other denominations will participate in the WOW conference. 420 men and women from several continents have registered so far.