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Catholic Groups Call on US Bishops to Build ‘A Church for Our Daughters’

June 14, 2016

Huntington Beach, CA…A Church for Our Daughters,” a grassroots movement organized by 30 Catholic-rooted organizations, gathered outside of the US bishops’ June meeting to present “A Declaration for Our Daughters,” calling for church leaders to strike down every oppressive practice, teaching and law that assigns women and girls to a subordinate status. With more than 4,000 signatures, the declaration is a wide-ranging 15-point vision statement calling for radical inclusion, dignity and rights for all in the Roman Catholic church.

The declaration, read from oversized parchment paper outside the beach resort where the bishops were meeting, was also hand-delivered to the bishops with pink flowers and personalized invitations to dialogue. “We are here to share our truths and our hopes for a better future for the next generation of Catholics: one that is inclusive, affirming and just,” said Kate McElwee, one of the group’s organizers. “Empowering girls and women is the only sustainable future for our church.”

Erin Saiz Hanna, pregnant with her second child, spoke during the event: “How can I tell my daughter she can grow up to be anything she wants if it is not true in our own religion? We call out sexism when we see it in our schools, the workplace and in politics, but when it comes to the Catholic church, far too many look the other way.”

A Church for Our Daughters comes at a time when young Catholic women are the most disengaged from Catholicism, according to research in American Catholics in Transition, the latest survey of American Catholics by William V. D’Antonio. They are by far the least likely to endorse views such as that being a Catholic is a very important part of their decision-making. For the first time ever, Catholic women from the Millennial generation are reportedly less likely to attend Mass than Millennial men.

“A Catholic hierarchy that is openly welcoming to all women and girls will be a giant leap forward for all of us. By recognizing the talents, devotion and wisdom of men and women equally, the hierarchy has everything to gain and nothing to lose,” said organizer Glenn Northern of Catholics for Choice.

A Church for Our Daughters continues to collect signatures for the petition and organizers plan to renew their invitations to dialogue with their local bishops throughout the summer.

A Church for Our Daughters is a grassroots campaign sponsored by the following organizations:

8th Day Center for Justice – Women in Church and Society Committee
A Critical Mass: Women Celebrating Eucharist
American Catholic Council
Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church (ARCC)
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
Boulder WomenEucharist
Call To Action
Catholics for Choice
Catholics for Choice Canada
Chicago Women-Church
Ecumenical Catholic Communion
Federation of Christian Ministries (FCM)
Greater Cincinnati Women-Church
Louisville Women-Church
National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN)
New Ways Ministry
Quixote Center / Catholics Speak Out
Radical Grace
Roman Catholic Womenpriests (RCWP-USA)
San Francisco Bay Area Women-Church
Southeastern Pennsylvania Women’s Ordination Conference
Women’s Alliance for Theology Ethics
and Ritual (WATER),Women-Church Baltimore
Women-Church of Central New Jersey
Women-Church Convergence
Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC)