Rome event changed my life

My book has opened up a new world to me. I’ve met women from all over the world who continue to cherish their Catholic faith, while fighting hard to reform an institutional church they find deeply flawed.

Misogyny is part of the problem, as I wrote in a recent blog published in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Clericalism — the habit of thinking of priests as a “special class” above other Catholics and deserving special privileges — also contributes to the problems facing the church.

On October 1, I was honored to participate in a symposium in Rome sponsored by Catholic Women Speak, an international group of Catholic women pushing for women to have greater participation in the church. You can see the video of the symposium on this website, including our panel on the sex abuse crisis.

Many of us had written essays for a book, Visions and Vocations, which we wrote to express our views to bishops who were in Rome to participate in a special meeting to consider the future of young people in the church.

Very few women were permitted to attend this meeting. No women were allowed to vote, despite the fact that all men — including those who were not ordained priests — had been given the right to vote.

So we decided to protest this glaring injustice outside the walls of the Vatican, “Let women vote,” was our cry, expressed in a non-violent demonstration. Unfortunately, our presence proved too “dangerous” for some clerics. We soon were surrounded by Roman police!

It is unfortunate that Catholic bishops, so reluctant to call the cops on priests who had molested children, seemed fine with police actions against peaceful, prayerful women.

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