Release date: December 21, 2017

Catholic organizations announce new initiative, #CatholicToo, to create space for women to share their stories about the effects of sexism and misogyny within the Church and to take action to end it.

Contact:

Zachary Johnson, Executive Director, Call To Action

773-988-2352, [email protected]

Kate McElwee, Executive Director, Women’s Ordination Conference

607.725.1364, [email protected]

Deborah Rose-Milavec, Executive Director, FutureChurch

513.673.1401, [email protected]

US/Italy: Fall 2017 brought heightened awareness to the rampant sexual harassment and abuse perpetrated by powerful men in entertainment and politics. Women in the Church also have haunting stories of their own abuse suffered at the hands of ordained male clerics, protected for too long by a Church hierarchy that normalizes gender inequality and silences victims of clergy abuse.

#CatholicToo invites Catholic women to bear witness to the wounds of patriarchy, and calls all Catholics to reject sacralized sexism and gender inequality in all forms within the Church. Allies and faith communities are asked to use #IWill and #WeWill to name their specific intentions to help change Church culture from one that affirms patriarchy and sexism to one that is inclusive, believes and respects women, and treats women as equals created in God’s image.

Actions in response to clergy abuse of women include: #IWill confront patriarchy and clericalism and ask difficult questions. #IWill break the silence on abuse and subordination of women. #WeWill make our Church a sanctuary for survivors and silence breakers. #WeWill practice radical inclusion and transform our liturgy and prayers to affirm all people.

“Telling our stories, telling the truth about women’s experience of abuse in the Church,” says Deborah Rose-Milavec, Executive Director of FutureChurch, “is a crucial step that must be undertaken if we are to transform our Church into an institution that reflects and honors the presence of God in all human beings.”

Kate McElwee, Executive Director of the Women’s Ordination Conference, adds: “We cannot move forward dissolving patriarchy and creating a Church that truly welcomes and values all, if we don’t bring these stories of systemized oppression into the light. #CatholicToo is a space for healing, a space for celebrating courage and resilience, and a place of hope where the vision of creating a Church rooted in justice for all remains real and present.”

“When we bear witness to victims and survivors, we open the possibility for God’s wisdom to lead us,”

said Zachary Johnson, Executive Director of Call To Action.

To learn more, visit www.catholictoo.org

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Call To Action: Call To Action draws its mission from the US Bishops’ 1976 Call To Action conference, and the “Call for Reform in the Catholic Church” proclaimed by more than 20,000 signers articulates its goals for our Church. It began as a response to the challenge of the Second Vatican Council, held between 1962 and 1965, for all members to “scrutinize the signs of the times” and respond in the light of the gospel. The council provided a wake-up call for lay Catholics who had tended to defer initiatives entirely to the clergy. Call To Action educates, inspires and activates Catholics to act for justice and build inclusive communities through a lens of anti-racism and anti-oppression principles.

FutureChurch: FutureChurch is a 27 year old organization that seeks changes that will provide all Roman Catholics the opportunity to participate fully in Church life and leadership. It is a national coalition of parish centered Catholics striving to educate fellow Catholics about the seriousness of the priest shortage, the centrality of the Eucharist (the Mass), and the systemic inequality of women in the Catholic Church. FutureChurch is a nonprofit organization that makes presentations throughout the country, distributes education, advocacy and prayer resources and recruits activists who work on behalf of its mission.

Women’s Ordination Conference: Founded in 1975, the Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC) is the oldest and largest organization working to ordain women as priests, deacons, and bishops into an inclusive and accountable Roman Catholic Church. A feminist voice for women in the Roman Catholic Church, WOC is a grassroots-driven movement that promotes activism, dialogue, and prayerful witness to call for women’s full equality in the Church.