The Role of Women in the Catholic Church

Support the Co-Creating the Future of Faith: The Role of Women in the Catholic Church

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The Center is sponsoring an exciting new initiative to surface the often-neglected voices of women within the Catholic Church. The initiative will tackle the necessary examination of the role of women in the Church of today and tomorrow by engaging the local San Diego Church community during a series of communal events.

The Church’s Synod on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment, held in Rome in October, shed an important light on the future of our church. The Synod reminded us: "listening is an encounter in freedom, which requires humility, patience, willingness to understand and a commitment to working out responses in a new way.”

Critically, the Synod endorsed the need for greater decision-making roles for women in the church, and tells us that young people —the future of our church— "have asked for a greater recognition and appreciation of women in society and in the Church.” It recognizes that “many women play an irreplaceable role in Christian communities, but in many places it is a struggle to give them a place in decision-making processes, even when these processes do not require specific ministerial responsibilities.”

In light of its observation that “the absence of women's voice and point of view impoverishes the discussion and journey of the church, and removes a precious contribution from discernment,” the Synod calls for "courageous cultural conversion and a change in daily pastoral practice" to promote the equality of women in society and in the church.

As an Anchor Institution for the Catholic community in San Diego, the University of San Diego is uniquely suited to engage with our community about ways to achieve this courageous cultural conversion in which women are more present in the leadership roles of the church, and provide a model for university-led engagement with the local Catholic communities across the country.

Innovative Approach:

This proposal seeks to use the power of convening to bridge divides and foster dialogue between women, diocesan leaders, and youth to envision a future of faith where women are present and participating in the leadership of our church. Our objective is to engage voices that are not typically heard — women, youth, and lay people — to create tangible artifacts and recommendations for the future.

We propose a sequence of three events to open the dialogue with the members of the Catholic community whose voices have long been neglected; engage high school youth in the process; and craft a message that can be shared with the diocese and beyond.

This initiative is being sponsored by the Center and a generous grant from the University’s Institutional and Effectiveness Strategic Initiatives Fund. Additional funds are needed.

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