On July 25, DignityUSA staff Jim Smith and Marianne Duddy-Burke, along with Christine Haider- Winnett, the Equally Blessed Coordinator, all spoke at a forum entitled “Women in the Catholic Church To- day: What Pope Francis Needs to Know.” The one-day event was held at Chicago Theological Seminary and live-streamed to hundreds across the U.S. and even had some international viewers.
The event was organized by Call To Action, Catholics for Choice, and CORPUS, and DignityUSA was among the co-sponsors. It was envisioned as a way of reflecting on the largely ignored issue of women’s concerns and roles in Francis’ papacy. Participants in- cluded theologians, church historians, activists, and women engaged in pastoral ministry.
Four panels throughout the day focused on the role of women in Church governance and pastoral leadership, inequities in Church service, issues of sex and sexuality, and family matters. Jim facilitated the final panel of the day, which focused on family issues. Marianne presented on marriage and adoption issues, and Christine spoke about the ways Church teaching impacts the families of LGBTQ people. A recording of the conference is available on Call To Action’s website.
At the end of the day, a Declaration was re- leased that states, in part, “We imagine a world and a fully engaged church where women are heard, valued, consulted and treated as the equal partners that God created.” It concludes with the pledge of the endorsing organizations, including DignityUSA, to work for the realization of this dream.