Declaration on Women in the Catholic Church

Written By Call To Action


July 25, 2015


Focus Areas: ,

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 12.57.29 PMThe declaration below was released after a landmark women’s forum was held July 25, 2015 at Chicago Theological Seminary.

Declaration on Women in the Catholic Church

As the Catholic church strives to cultivate a faith rooted in human dignity and equality, we are aware that women in the church are neglected, cast aside, abused and dismissed. We know that historically women have been exploited as labor, denied reproductive healthcare, discriminated against because of whom they love and not allowed to fulfill their call to ministry. Women have not been recognized for their human dignity.

We believe that, rooted in Catholic theology, education and the lived experience of Catholics today, our faith teaches that the church is not meant to be this way.

We imagine a world and a fully engaged church where women are heard, valued, consulted and treated as the equal partners that God created. Inspired by a love of the church, we imagine:

  • A church where women are recognized for their human dignity and as beings who are guided by their conscience to make choices that are good for themselves and the community.
  • A church where women are respected for their choices about their health, welfare and lives.
  • A church where women are able to fulfill their calling to be leaders in the church.
  • A church where women are appreciated for their work in the church and fairly compensated for it.
  • A church where women can exercise their sexuality in ways that celebrate the love God has for them.
  • A church where women are able to love and form families in whatever way fills their souls.

We have faith that one day our church will meet our vision of what is right and what is true to who we are as Catholics. Out of a shared concern for the future of our church, we believe it can and should change.

We commit ourselves to work to make this vision a reality. Since we are all part of the church, we will work in our community, in our family and in our parish council and ministry. We will work with all Catholics, including women religious, priests, bishops and all those who share the loving grace of the Catholic church.

In faith, we declare our commitment to make it so.

We hope you will join us.

Call To Action
Catholics for Choice
National Coalition for American Nuns
New Ways Ministry
Quixote Center/Catholics Speak Out
Roman Catholic Womenpriests
Southeastern Pennsylvania Women’s Ordination Conference


  • Marsha West says:

    Makes sense. Tragic that it is likely only to elicit mockery and condemnation.

  • Rev Fr Mark Poirier, osb says:

    Please keep this up, it’s the Lord’s work!

  • bro Michael j. Phillips, ocs says:

    Not that it matters,but the Father Bede House of Prayer stands with you As well… Blessings from a monk in the world peace brother Michael+

  • bro Michael j. Phillips, ocs says:

    Love and blessings to all…+

  • Judi Gay says:

    and I would ask to the last sentence…and people who walked away from an unjust institution to save their own spirituality.

    Three cheers, women! You are doing the right thing! There can be no gag-orders to talking about extending full participation in the church to women. None. The Pope and all of his cohorts must learn that the days of forced-silence are gone. The days of inclusivity are here!

  • Colleen E. S. Baker says:

    In faith, I pray it will come to be.

  • Eileen Drake says:

    Thank you! Your vision has given me hope!

  • Bill Johnson says:

    This Lutheran supports your efforts.

  • Women are called to priesthood and are now answering their call to bring the Word of God and the sacraments to others. We stand for justice and peace in our church and fight against sexism that says only men can be called to serve the people as an ordained priest.

  • Anne-Joelle Philippart says:

    I appreciate your action. You give me a lot of hope and the will to go ahead with my own actions to make this dream a reality

  • Erma Durkin says:

    We have been working on this “forever”. What new strategies are you suggesting?

  • Katharine Gilbert says:

    What is so embarrassing to me, as a Catholic, is the persistent behavior of clergy towards women and women priests , teachers..any woman who is questioning the centuries of male dominated religious hierarchy.
    All the while deliberately covering or just ignoring the abuse scandals that continue.
    A venerated teacher was fired from her school outside Phila. which had respected her work until a parent or parents complained about her private life choice. Not about her abilities as a teacher.
    After all the parents represented financial support considerarions.
    The agenda points listed can only be realized when full acceptance is the norm..not a special case in the Church

  • Diane Lanpher says:

    Thank you for sharing your work. I support you and the women of our faith. Please continue.
    Thank you,
    Diane Lanpher
    Vergennes, VT

  • Arline Schoenberger says:

    I doubt in my life time, but perhaps in my daughter’s & grand daughters” life time.

    • Mary says:

      One of the many reasons I left Catholicism was that as a woman I did not matter. As a child my brother who briefly was in the seminary assured me that I could not aspire to be a priest because I would not pass the physical. I am now an ELCA Lutheran and will NEVER return to the Catholic fold. I really do not understand why so many Catholics insist on staying in this male dominated church.

  • Barb Kattner says:

    I support every word of this proclamation. I encourage everyone to read President Jimmy Carter’s 2009 paper explaining his leaving the Southern Baptist Convention after 60 years of being a active member because of its treatment of women. He calls on all of us to have the courage to stand against the failure of male dominated religion to recognize the role women must play.

  • Brenda Zamary says:

    With a single stroke that allows women to serve at all levels in the Church, Pope Francis could change the world. Women will never be equals until and unless the major religions confirm this truth by their actions. Until such action, women will remain in various levels of servitude.

  • gail ross says:

    Thomas Aquinas followed Aristotle in attributing the conception of a woman to a defect of a particular seed. The male semen intends to produce a complete human being, a man, but at times it does not succeed and produces a woman. A woman is, therefore, a mas occasionatus, a failed male. She is also not fully created in the image of God. The Ecclesial Body of the church needs to change this first.

  • Anna Rahn says:

    It will take 500 years for this to change- for women to be accorded the same rights in the church that men have. This is about the amount of time it took for Galileo’s so called heresy to be recanted. The current power structure is too important to the men in power no, their bread and butter to be blunt.
    This is a cynical view but the church has
    encourged such cynicism and sinned against all church members. Jesus’ teachings have little to do with the power structure, indeed do not support it so their is a lot of obfuscation, smoke and mirrors to maintain the power structure.

  • Pope Francis could change everything with the stroke of a pen. A pope is an absolute monarch. He has the power to do it, but won’t. The solution is to join or start an independent catholic church in your community, such as http://www.saintceciliacatholiccommunity,org in Palm Springs, CA

  • Regina Schulte says:

    I am in full agreement with the platform upon which this declaration stands, although I would have worded some of it differently. I do, however, have trouble with the last descrip-
    tion of the church women want. “To love and form families in whatever way that fills their souls,” is too subjective and can be fully arbitrary–even whimsical. Surely the right to form families should be decided/measured with the help of some norm(s).