#MeToo seems to have come to stay in the Church. At least that is what the ‘Revolt of women in the Church’ intends, a global movement of Catholic women fighting for the end of the dictatorship of patriarchy in an institution that, twenty centuries after its foundation, continues to be governed solely and exclusively by men.
The Spanish Church avoids claiming the female priesthood and tiptoes over optional celibacy or sexual abuse
The convening of Pope Francis for a Synod gives them the opportunity to raise their voice, despite some episcopal conferences, such as the Spanish one, which deleted from the list the open debates on the ordination of women, married priests or full inclusion of the LGTBIQ+ collective. The response of the Spanish ‘Revolt’ is clear: insist “until equality becomes customary.”
This Tuesday, the Holy See welcomed the cry of Catholic women, through the summary document delivered to the General Secretariat of the Synod by an international delegation from the Council of Catholic Women (CWC), a global network that brings together more than 60 Catholic women’s organizations. In the document they demand that the Vatican “unmask the ideologies and theologies that erroneously justify sexism, racism, classism and all forms of oppression or domination”, as well as ensure that the Vatican structure recognizes “the links between colonialism, patriarchy and structures of the Church today, and work to dismantle them, so that all can participate equally and joyfully in the life of the Church.”
For the sacraments to be real and life-giving, churches must be safe places
From March to June 2022, the CWC coordinated reflection, discernment, prayer, and reflection with women from different backgrounds. From there comes an 18-page text in which Catholic women denounce “the abuse of power, clericalism, sexism and fear” that they suffer within the Church.
Machismo that “leads to gender-based violence and abuse”
“Despite our differences, the full participation of women in the institutional Church and in sacramental life is the only effective sign that its leaders are committed to truly building a synodal Church,” laments the document, in which the most used term is “frustration”.
Due to the lack of access to institutions but, also and above all, due to the “culture of male supremacy” that, on many occasions, leads to “gender violence and sexual and spiritual abuse in society and in the Church”.
Along with this, they demand “listening and including women not only in decision-making processes, but also in decision-making itself”, and “guarantee that the processes are transparent”.
At the same time, they demand a change in the profiles of the community leaders, until now reserved exclusively for priests. “Ordination is not proof of competence in all areas” they emphasize, emphasizing that “the abuse of power and the imbalance between men and women can be avoided through collaborative leadership”.
Defense of the rights of all
The goal is to “renew Church structures and canon law” to “protect the rights of all members of the Church, regardless of gender or sexual identity, and not just the rights of priests and bishops.” For this reason, they insist, it is urgent to “eradicate clericalism” and apply “zero tolerance of any form of abuse”, and “do justice to the survivors”. “For the sacraments to be real and life-giving, churches must be safe places,” the Catholic women insist.
In short, “create a structure and an environment that allows the Church to become a world leader in the defense and modeling of integral human rights, in particular those that protect women against violence, extremism and the limits to their freedom” and “enable the full participation in the life and ministry of the Church of all those who identify as LGBTQI+.”
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