Women's Ordination Worldwide
WOW e-news #4

WOW's third international conference will take place in Philadelphia, 18-20 September 2015. Advocates for women's ordination from around the world will gather to celebrate, be inspired, and join together as we grow our movement and go forward. Our hosts will be our member group Women's Ordination Conference (WOC).  


The theme of the conference is Gender, Gospel, and Global Justice.


Join us at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, 1201 Market Street, Philadelphia

 Over three days, you will have the opportunity to:-
  • Network with individuals and groups working for women’s ordination in all Christian churches
  • Fully participate in women-centered, feminist theology, liturgies, and leadership in prayerful interfaith action,
  • Learn more about the impacts of the Catholic Church on women and girls around the world,
  • Take a stand against misogyny and sexism in religion. 

Will you be there?

Important note about booking for the conference

Some people are contacting the Marriott directly to reserve their rooms which means they are missing out on the special reduced rate that WOW has negotiated at $159 per room per night. The current rate offered by the Marriott on-line is $259 so if you book via WOW it is a big saving.
Please book your rooms via the WOW booking form operated by NIX - they need a credit card to reserve/secure the room but no money will be taken from that card. It just acts to guarantee the booking. Rooms will be paid at the hotel at checkout.
Register for WOW 2015
Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW) invites you to submit a workshop proposal for the 2015 WOW International Conference: "Gender, Gospel, and Global Justice" to be held in Philadelphia, PA from September 18-20, 2015 at the Philadelphia Downtown Marriott.


We encourage workshops that address the theme of the conference through multicultural, international, feminist, and intersectional lenses. 


Deadline for submissions is April 15th! Please share widely!


Speakers at the conferenceShannon Dee Williams, Teresa Forcades, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Theresa Kane, Tina Beattie, Patricia Fresen, Mary Hunt, Tony Flannery, Roy Bourgeois, Jamie Manson, Mary John Mananzan, Kate Kelly, Asra Nomani, Maureen Fiedler, Barbara Blaine, Kristina Keneally, Ursula King, Genny Dumay, Christine Fernando, Christina Rees, Paul Collins, Maeve O'Rourke, Mari Steed

Speakers in the news
Kristina Keneally  - The Pope's comments about "breeding like rabbits" highlight the precise reason the Catholic Church needs input from feminist agitators like me.

Read more
Sister Elizabeth Johnson: "The submerged female half of the church, indeed of the human race, is rising, and the faith we pass on to the next generations will be poorer if women’s insights are ignored." Read more
Sister Forcades talks about her new book "The History of Feminist Theology".

"Faith, religion, spirituality, cannot be subjected to sexist and misogynistic structures requiring women to renounce their freedom, their intelligence, their sexuality and capabilities to be part of them."  Listen here
Donate to WOW Solidarity Fund

Would you or your organisation like to exhibit at our conference?
One booth includes one conference registration.

Exhibit space application will be accepted through Wednesday 26 August. 
Exhibit at WOW

In response to requests that the image of the headless, limbless bound woman's torso be taken down from the Vatican's website has made a tremendous acknowledgement: “I have received your objection to the use of “Venus Restored” by the artist Man Ray on the Pontifical Council for Culture’s website to illustrate the working document of the Plenary Assembly on “Women’s Cultures: equality and difference”. While registering your complaint, we have chosen not to remove the image, as we believe it speaks clearly for one of the central points of our document: many women, alas, are still struggling for freedom (bound with rope), their voices and intellect often unheard (headless), their actions unappreciated (limbless).
Gianfranco Ravasi. mail to
WAC Ireland organised a Prayer Vigil outside the Papal Nunciature on St Valentine's Day to object to the refusal of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Culture to remove the image of a naked female torso in bondage from their website. 
We delivered a letter to the Papal Nuntio for Cardinal Ravasi. There was no reply when we rang the bell at the papal Nunciature, though we knew that the Nuncio Charles Brown was inside as he passed our posters as he returned from a jog in his orange top - but he refused to engage in conversation and strode quickly up the avenue to the gated Nunciature

Article in Irish Times

One of many Facebook comments
“Just how the Church likes its women. No voice, thought, say or actions and bound.”

Would Pope Francis prevent Catholic school teachers from having honest and compassionate conversations with their students?

Judging by his giving a gay-positive Catholic group VIP seating, the answer is "No!" read article

The archbishop of San Francisco has launched a witch hunt against teachers who won't swear allegiance to his narrow view of church doctrine. He's adding a new section to the employee manual that requires them to "arrange and conduct their lives so as not to visibly contradict, undermine or deny" church teaching, and then specifically focuses on homosexuality, abortion, and contraception.

Sign petition here



Back in 1965, Archbishop Thomas James Toolen of Mobile, Alabama expressed shocking opinions about the African Americans marching in Selma and across the south. With the benefit of hindsight, the Roman Catholic institution can see how wrong he was. The article is here.
It brought to mind this huge hoarding which appeared in Edinburgh, Scotland at the time of Pope Benedict’s visit to the UK in 2010.

Dead for 48 minutes, Catholic Priest claims God is female

Seen widely on Facebook and elsewhere

The last sentence is rather ominous!

From a woman who believes she has a priestly vocation
There was a conference at the Vatican last week about women's cultures. Where does it leave us women? The sessions took place behind closed doors and the only action point that emerged from it was Pope Francis saying vaguely that women need more “incisive” roles.
For many years I have believed I have had a (necessarily officially untested) calling to women's ordained ministry in a renewed Catholic Church, and I am a member of Catholic Women's Ordination. I am a wife, mother and grandmother; I am a retired social worker, have a theology degree, and willingly carry out many different tasks in my parish, where I attend Mass most days. I am part of our hospital ministry team, visit bereaved people, co-ordinate spiritual talks, write in the Catholic press, and am involved with spiritual initiatives for older people. I mention this not to seek praise or power, but wish to give service and skills in my Church.
My parish priest is instinctively collaborative and is known for working effectively with lay people. This blog has to be anonymous because I have discussed my calling with him. He does not break the rules, but, because I occasionally discuss it with him, it puts him in line for censure, because since 1994 and St John Paul II’s apostolic letterOrdinatio Sacerdotalis, Catholics are not permitted even to discuss women's ordination. There is a climate of fear about women's ordained ministry in the Catholic Church.
I offer my service knowing that if my priest is moved on, I may be prevented from continuing much of what I offer, because my next priest (if there is one) could stop me. The church hierarchy is having its cake and eating it: lay people do parish work voluntarily, yet with no official structure, role, governance or church-wide acceptance. It suits the organisation to leave it like this and depend on lay people serving piecemeal and at the discretion of the priest or bishop. Priests and bishops move. People in parishes stay.
We approach sacramental famine in the UK because of a shortage of male celibate priests. Although I am willing to do what is needed, I believe I could help so much more as parishes close and amalgamate. Married men may become priests soon, but if so there will still (obviously) be a massive male imbalance.
While our centralised, clerical, hierarchical Church clings to the status quo, despite the work of Pope Francis and others, priests and bishops are becoming demoralised and worn out by rigid structures and heavy workloads. There is no serious will or funding to educate lay people for some of the roles traditionally in the priest’s domain – and certainly none to widen access to priestly training.
I wish to remain in the Catholic Church because it is my Church and I love its sacramental vision. But if we were to have team ministry of ordained and lay women and men with a mix of skills working in smaller communities, how much more sacramental work and pastoral care could be offered?
The Church cannot develop its pastoral and sacramental service without looking seriously at women's ministry. Collegiality and collaborative ministry may return, as Pope Francis seeks, but how soon? And what
about us women now that the delegates at last week’s conference have gone home?

“This is the cold-call pope. He picks up the phone to talk to anyone unless you say you are a woman called to the priesthood.” 

Miriam Duignan
WOW Leadership Circle

(centre of the photo)
Parishioners support Swiss priest asked to resign for blessing lesbian couple
read more

We have wonderful men who support us!
"Man prayer" written by Eve Ensler, filmed by Tony Strobel



Watch it here

WOW Conference Prayer

We are mindful that Your Spirit, Loving Creator, has awakened in us and in those upon whose shoulders we stand, an awareness of Your Life and Voice within and around us. We listen, clothed in the sacred garments of the Good News of Jesus the Christ. We listen, assured that You have formed and gifted our hearts and minds for all that calls us forward. We listen, believing with gratitude, that you have prepared us for this moment in history when women shall stand firmly and fully in any and every dimension of ministry.

Help us, those who plan this important conference, and those who plan to participate in its offerings, to drink deeply of Your Wisdom and Vision as revealed in the Gospel. May that Cup of the Gospel assist us as we gather from around the globe to create a conference which will offer ways to seek and proclaim, and thereby reveal the Gospel pathway of justice for women and men, their children, people of faith everywhere, and for our living planet that nourishes all life dwelling upon it.

Our hope and our belief is that Your Justice will arise anew in every person attending this conference, and that this same Justice, in the power of Love, will fill willing hearts with courage and commitment to carry forth Love’s Light around this planet to wherever and whomever is in need of Light. Help us and all people whom we serve to immerse ourselves in the Gospel.