As Catholic feminists and leaders of organizations committed to justice for women within our church as well as throughout society, we have followed Voices of Faith’s efforts to crack open the Vatican walls by sponsoring an annual forum about women inside one of the last remaining bastions of male domination in the western world.
Since 2014, Voices of Faith has marked International Women’s Day (March 8) with an event that examines how the intersection of Catholic doctrine and practice impacts women globally. This year, the Vatican denied the women the use of a hall inside its walls due to Voices of Faith’s selection of speakers, including former Irish President Mary McAleese and Ugandan lesbian activist Ssenfuka Joanita Warry. Voices of Faith held its forum a short distance away at the Jesuit Aula.
We applaud the decision to stick with speakers who would address issues in a way that challenged Vatican authority, instead of replacing them with more “acceptable” individuals in order to be inside the walls. It is a sign of growth and integrity for Voices of Faith and a signal that our movements will not be dismissed or stopped.