FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 14, 2007

CONTACT: Aisha Taylor, 703 352-1006, [email protected]

24 Catholic Organizations Call for Women Priests and Church Renewal on World Day of Prayer  

Washington, D.C.Today, twenty-four Catholic organizations sent a letter to Pope Benedict XVI calling for women to be priests and for renewal of the Roman Catholic Church. The letter, sent from organizations in Japan, France, Germany, the USA and more, coincides with the 14 th annual World Day of Prayer for Women’s Ordination. Every year on March 25, the feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Catholics around the world organize events to bring attention to the fact that Catholic women are banned from being priests.

“This type of collaboration among Catholic organizations to publicly call for women’s ordination is a benchmark in efforts to improve the church,” stated Aisha Taylor, executive director of the Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC), the world’s oldest and largest national organization working solely for women’s ordination in an inclusive Catholic Church. “We are demonstrating that Catholics around the world support women’s leadership in all aspects of the church, including ordained ministries.”

“On the same day that we celebrate Mary saying ‘yes’ to God, when told she would give birth to Jesus Christ, we are saying ‘yes’ to women’s leadership in the church,” Taylor continued. “Mary’s decision was conscious and deliberate, and it made her an active partner in God’s plan for the world. By praying for women to be priests, we embrace our church’s tradition of strong female leadership.”

“Because Mary is a spiritual leader and some even call her a priest, on March 25 we will pray for women’s ordination and for the difference female priests would make in addressing women’s and social justice issues, including domestic violence, sexual assault, sex trafficking, HIV/AIDS, genocide and more. The exclusion of women from the full decision making and sacramental life of the church is linked to these issues in that — while the impact has extremely different levels of intensity — the root cause is the same: male domination and sexism.”

The theme of this year’s World Day of Prayer in the USA is “Opening Hearts, Creating Justice.” WOC has provided community organizers across the country with resources to plan public demonstrations, home prayer services, and presentations about women’s ordination and structural change in the church.

WOC represents the majority of U.S. Catholics who support women’s ordination. A 2006 National Catholic Reporter survey of U.S. Catholics found that 62% of respondents support ordaining women as priests, and 81% support ordaining women as deacons. An Associated Press/Ipsos poll conducted in April 2005 found that 64% of U.S. Catholics support women’s ordination.

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Founded in 1975, the Women’s Ordination Conference works for justice and equality in all dimensions of life and ministry in the Catholic Church, including women’s ordination to an inclusive priestly ministry . To read the letter and view a list of events for the world day of prayer, visit www.womensordination.org.