Catholic priests, lay persons call for LGBT, women’s rights / WindyCityMedia.com

“(Margaret) Roylance (of Voice of the Faithful) singled out clericalism (the elite Catholic hierarchy which seeks to control and maintain power) as a quintessential issue in the church.”

“‘To our brothers in the wider church, we are asking you to deeply listen to the women in your circle [and] in your communities,’ (Kate) McElwee (The Women’s Ordination Conference) stated. ‘In the spirit that invites transformation, we ask you to carefully reflect on male and clerical privilege and risk stepping out and acting courageously for full equality in our church. [It] has become an ever more broken body. We need to walk this journey together.'”

It was the unlikeliest of press conferences and a sign of times that are changing with unprecedented momentum even from within one of the world’s oldest religious institutions.

On Oct 20, in Arlington Heights, representatives from Catholic priest movements and lay reform organizations based across the world gathered to lay out a series of direct challenges to the Catholic Church on everything from women’s equality to LGBT rights.

“The announcement, also carried via a live global webcast, came at the conclusion of the third international conference of its kind during which 40 priests and lay persons from 10 countries—Argentina, Australia, Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States—met for three days ‘to develop strategies for reform in the Catholic Church including the full participation of women in the Church, confronting clericalism and supporting LGBT Catholics.’

“Sam Bowns, an activist working on the restoration of women priests; William McGinnity, from the National Council of Priests of Australia; Margaret Roylance, of the Voice of the Faithful; Kate McElwee, co-executive director of The Women’s Ordination Conference; and organizer Markus Heil served as the gathering’s representatives.

“‘In this space we wrestled with the damaging effects of oppressive structures knowing that patriarchy and hierarchy hurt us all,’ McElwee said. ‘We discovered, time and again, that by sharing as equals and asking hard questions we can transform, ourselves, our church and our world.’

“‘One of the guiding principles of our assembly was unity in diversity,’ Roylance said. ‘Envisioning an active change in the church means appreciating our differences.’

“Roylance singled out clericalism ( the elite Catholic hierarchy which seeks to control and maintain power ) as a quintessential issue in the church …”

By Gretchen Rachel Hammond, Windy City Media.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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