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Australia: Conference will Discuss Involvement of Women in Church Life, Renewal

‘Shaking the waters: Catholic women responding to the Spirit’

“Shaking the waters: Catholic women responding to the Spirit” is the title of the congress organized from February 22-24, 2019,  by the Council for Australian Catholic Women, an advisory body in the Episcopal Conference, which will bring participants from across the nation to reflect on the involvement of women in the life of the Church and on the path of renewal which is taking place.

As Andrea M. Dean, director of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s Office for the Participation of Women, explains to Fides News Agency, the initiative comes from afar: “It was an important research project carried out in 1999, on the effective participation of women in the life of the Church, to give impetus to the birth of the Council. Following this study, the Episcopal Conference published a document that called for a balance between men and women within ecclesial bodies, in the assignment of professional roles or leadership within the Church. This led to the birth of the Council which is concerned precisely with ensuring the involvement of women in the Church, with advisory functions.

“We are committed to promoting the participation of women in leadership, decision-making, and other ecclesial ministries in the Catholic Church in Australia. We try to pursue this goal mainly through communication, which allows us to promote our work and to make the female voice heard within the ecclesial institutions. Another tool is to study theology in light of women’s experiences and perspectives or to provide them with training on roles in the liturgy so that their involvement is effective. Finally, we ask all women to be ready to fill positions of governance.”

Every three years, the council organizes a special conference to expand its network, and promote women’s education and involvement, and is preparing for the 2019 edition. Dean notes: “This congress is a unique opportunity, because it gives women the opportunity to submit requests to the Plenary Council of Bishops, thus contributing to the process of renewal of the Church in Australia”. In 2016, the reflection focused on the theme “Women witnesses of the joy of the Gospel”, now we will discuss the role and the prophetic contribution of women in the community of the baptized.

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