WHO ARE WE?
#AlcemLaVeu we are a coordinator of women believers and feminists from different Catalan dioceses who report discrimination and violation of our rights in the Catholic Church, and we advocate for an institution where women's voices count, participate and lead in the same conditions. than men.
We are aware of the inequality in church structure and organization and publicly denounce the invisibility of women. The women coordinator will demand that women be sought for spaces of responsibility in the movements, parishes, parish councils, institution-related activities, church structure, college education, and pastoral careers.
We want to express that Catholicism is plural, with diverse community experiences around the world, and so no fundamentalist or far right ideology can be appropriated. In the name of the Church, no one can uphold a traditional, conservative system of gender roles, or hide violence against women.
WE COME FROM A LONG TRADITION
Christian feminists have just made up their minds. We come from a genealogy of women who have thought, questioned, and sought their subjectivity beyond the roles imposed on society and the Church. We come from a long tradition of women who have struggled to be free and who have denounced the discrimination they suffered within the Church when they were not told the good news, were not allowed to train or were not taught. or write theology. We come from the tradition of insubmissive women, who have raised their voices to say how they felt, what they experienced, and what they believed in, despite the impediments of the church hierarchy or the men who wanted them quiet. Women who have been revealed when they have been denied the spiritual or rational ability to interpret scripture.
And we follow the tradition of women from the beginning of Christianity, who with their voice and testimony inspired new ways of living in community, created networks of mutual help and care for those who needed it. Mary Magdalene, first apostle; Martha and Mary, Jesus' friends and home church leaders; Prisca and Júnia, first missionaries and apostles; Febe, deacon and minister; Teone and Mirte, prophets and visionaries; Key, the preacher; Macrina and Amma Maria, initiators of monasticism; Marcela, Paula, Melania and Egeria, widows, travelers and founders of new communities.
We recognize in the good news of Jesus the dignity of being people with freedom and capacity to love, of being companions on the way of a Jesus who transgresses the norms of a terribly patriarchal society and that approaches women, he extends his hand, dialogues with them. We discover in Mary's courage, the wisdom to love and the openness to the spirit that gives and permits life.
We follow the tradition of those who became the protagonists of their own experiences and were masters or writers. Thanks to them we know that neither study, nor prayer, nor service to others is unique to one genre. Christine de Pizan and Isabel de Villena, who write down the misogyny of their time; the beguins, who since the Middle Ages have tried common ways of living and giving to others; Caterina de Siena and Teresa de Jesus, the first doctors in the Church, who show that reflection on mystical experience is not alien to women; Francesca Bonnemaison, educator, politician and feminist; Dolors Monserdà, writer and politician; Maria Rúbies, Rosa Sensat, educators and teachers. All women founders, mystics, writers, poets, philosophers, politicians, documentaries, sorcerers, doctors, teachers.
And we acknowledge the invisible task of many anonymous women of all ages, conditions, and continents, who for more than twenty centuries have worked silently and humbly, women who have created a community, have made a Church. Without them we would not be here.
In our homes, Catholic feminism comes after the Second Vatican Council. This council represented an update on the Church, a modernization of church discourse and practice, an openness to the world and to its real problems and hopes. The CVII took many of the progressive values of the twentieth century, but left at least one: that of equality between men and women.
Unfortunately, this challenge was again left out and forgotten. However, in the wake of the new aspects of change in the Council, in Catalonia the Women's Collective was born in the Church in 1986. They are the true pioneers of this struggle and we want to pay them a sincere tribute.
WE ARE MANY: INTERNATIONAL NETWORK OF BELIEVING WOMEN
The feminist movement is also global. The Voices of Faith initiative promotes international networks of Catholic women to empower them in local or global Church decision-making, and hosts a number of campaigns, such as Overcoming silence or Votes for women.
Overcoming silence claims that although half of Catholics are women, the decisions that affect us are made by men, and declares that we need to hear female voices speak from our faith.
Votes for women demands that women in the female congregations vote in the synods, as do members of the male congregations, when the relationship is ten religious for one religious. Votes for women was featured in the latest Amazon synod at the end of 2019.
The need for a suffrage movement in the Church in the midst of the 21st century demonstrates how anachronistic the praxis of women in this institution is. Ultimately, Voices for faith and other international feminist movements are urging the Pope to launch programs and actions to work for equality within the Catholic Church.
WE SAY PROOF TO A MIXED CHURCH
There are also many women in the Catalan Church. We are a majority in the parishes, in the volunteer work, in entities, and despite being many, and in many cases being a majority, we are excluded without much of a large part of the leadership, responsibility and representation spaces of the institution. Ultimately, it is considered that we are not valid enough for these types of tasks as we are taught in a paternalistic manner praising the pile of female virtues that are supposed to be associated with our gender role.
One of the key aspects of this exclusion, but not the only one, is that we women cannot be ordained. Not only does this mean that we cannot perform the duties of a priest, but all the functions that only the priests can access are automatically vetoed by us. We would say it's a disqualification before playing the game. Invisibility is also clear if we look at who occupies the spaces of responsibility, authority and decision-making that women can access. Most are occupied by men. The great paradox is that the institution corner, despise and silence those who mostly support it. And the worst part is that male hegemony is normalized, legitimized and perpetuated with virtually no self-criticism.
As the # OnSónLesDones collective reminds us in its 2019 report : “When women’s voices are not there, our experiences, perspectives and knowledge are not properly represented and our expertise is underwhelmed. What's more, when we're not women, we get the message that that space doesn't belong to us. "
THE NUMBERS SPEAK: WE ARE MAJORITY BUT WE DO NOT INCIDENT OR DECIDE
A study from March 2018 shows that in the diocese of Barcelona, we held only 23% of the bishopric's accessibility responsibilities that were accessible to us, while the total number of positions included only embarrassing 18% of women. Obviously there were and there are 0% of women as parishioners, while we are the ones who fill the Masses, do the catechesis and other service tasks. In the rest of the diocese the figures should not be very different. The Faculty of Theology of Catalonia has no stable professor and at the Institute of Religious Sciences of Barcelona (ISCREB) it does not reach 25%. It should also be seen how many women train the seminars. What theological, spiritual, and emotional training do future priests receive if we are excluded? Men Only Men - There Can't Be More Bias!
PROU EXCUSES: WOMEN ARE AND WE HAVE ALL THE CAPACITIES
The battery of excuses is endless. The sexist and misogynist ideology lined with theological arguments is an insult to our intelligence. The approach to the texts and to the religious tradition without considering the gender perspective is totally intolerable in the middle of the 21st century, if it is to be an institution with a minimum credibility. Recall that in the latest CEO survey in Catalonia, one of the worst-rated institutions by the citizens is the Catholic Church. Only the Spanish monarchy is behind. The symbolic violence against women is surely one of the reasons.
Women have all the capabilities. We demonstrate it in every field where we get involved. The more women think, lead, and decide, the more diverse, rich, plural, and authentic the Church will be, because it will include all perspectives and experiences. If not everyone can create a fraternal community, if there is a relationship of power and submission between one sex and the other, how can we set an example of this brotherhood inside and outside the Church?
WE SAY PROOF TO SEXUAL AND POWER ABUSES
We must not forget the violence against women, girls and boys. Shocking testimony of former American religious Doris Wagner, who claimed to have engaged in sexual abuse, shed light on the dire, institutionalized scourge of religious violence against religious people by ecclesiastical men. Wagner explained that 40% of women abused within the Church are accounted for. The International Union of Superiors-General denounced the various forms of sexual and labor abuse suffered by many nuns, and the Romanian Observatore women's supplement in the Vatican newspaper dedicated the February 2019 issue to this topic. Its director, Lucceta Scaraffia, resigned after reporting strong pressures.
After the scandals have been exposed, Pope Francis has announced a commission for these cases and demanded maximum transparency, to see if the culture of impunity for abuses on women is beginning to disappear.
These intolerable scourges that are perpetuated and sustained do not show the reality of a community believing that it is alive everywhere and that it carries the values of welcome, social justice, solidarity and spiritual depth that are so necessary.
WOMEN AS AGENTS OF CHANGE: THE CHURCH WE WANT
Women claim a feminization of the Church. Imagine a Church that is a community of equals, in which women are recognized as full members, with voices and votes everywhere, and where they are valued for their talents, charisms, and contributions to communities. A Church where women can access all ministries and where leadership is shared between women and men, laypeople, laypeople, consecrated people and priests. A less hierarchical, less clerical and more plural church where everyone is recognized.
Imagine a Church that discovers the action and words of the women of Scripture and of the women they have been referring to throughout history. A Church that facilitates theological, pastoral and liturgical training for believing women.
We work for a welcoming Church that accompanies without judging all the diversity of families, their identities and sexual orientation, and offers spaces for personal and collective growth. A Church that positively values the body of women, sexuality and relationships. A Church that promotes the contemplation of beauty, art, creativity and innovation in church spaces, and makes them open to all.
Fortunately, the Church is neither homogeneous nor standardizing, which is why in many communities we already work from a different perspective. There is already a Church of movements, communities, religious congregations, which act and display as spaces without discrimination and which educate or shape according to feminism, real democracy, and horizontal relationships between people.
These are communities where we share the faith, the hopes, the hopes, the sufferings, and where all of us, men and women, feel heard, comforted and valued beyond the criteria of professional, economic or social success. Communities with spaces of prayer and silence, where the noise gives way to calm, meditation, contemplation, the experience of the transcendent dimension of people.
And from that experience already, we work for a more plural and diverse Church, which with the incorporation of women's voice, eyes and expertise will be more welcoming, inclusive, innovative, democratic, fair and coherent.
WHAT WE CLAIM: PARITY AND PLURALITY IN GOVERNANCE
We urge women to be represented equally in all church spaces. And in the Catalan dioceses in particular:
Parity in the secretariats, delegations and other diocesan positions of responsibility.
Parity in teaching at the Faculty of Theology and Institutes of Religious Sciences.
Parity between seminar trainers.
Parity in the spaces of representation of the institution.
Parity in the opinion articles of the church media.
In short, we want equality plans to be initiated in the Catalan dioceses to become an ecclesial benchmark for equity. I The vindication within the framework of the universal Church leads us to demand also the access of the woman to the deaconate and to the priesthood.
Finally we ask all the men who think like us and who think that the current situation of injustice must change, to have them side by side in a shared struggle. Because this is not a war between men and women, it is a positive change. If women are there, we are building a better Church.