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About Us

Who we are and what we do.

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Introduction

In September 2000 the Australian Catholic Bishops responded to the Report on the Participation of Women in the Catholic Church in Australia: Woman and Man One in Christ Jesus. The Statement is a blue print for action to ensure that women are more fully participative members of the Catholic Church in Australia.

In 1996 the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference launched a major research initiative focusing on the participation of women in the Catholic Church in Australia. Our aim in doing so was to gather information about the participation of women in the Church in order to help Church bodies to reflect on and promote the Gospel vision of the equal dignity of women and men, to discuss the issues in a constructive way, and to plan for the future.

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History of the Project

Individuals and groups had raised issues concerning the role and status of women in the Church and in Australian society with the Bishops over a period of years and we knew that this important issue of justice in our Church and in our society needed to be addressed. We received a variety of suggestions on how best to address these issues and in the end concluded that a study on women's actual participation in the life of the Church and ways of improving this participation was needed. We felt that we needed a sound information base for theological reflection, pastoral planning and further dialogue with women and women's groups on particular issues. This became the objective of the research.

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Practical Steps

As Cardinal Clancy stated at the launch"Woman and Man: One in Christ Jesus" at the National Press Club on 18 August 1999, the challenge that faces the Bishops is to find ways within the integral Catholic Tradition to engage the wisdom, the talents and the experience of women for the enrichment of the Church and society, and for the fulfilment of their own lives.

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Decisions

1. That the ACBC commit itself to work to establish, where necessary, and within the divinely ordained structure and communion of the Church:
  1. a better balance of men and women, clergy, religious and laity on existing councils, organisations and advisory bodies, at the national level.
  2. a better balance of men and women in leadership roles at the national the level.
  3. a better balance of men and women in professional roles within the church at national level.

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Commission for Australian Catholic Women

The Commission for Australian Catholic Women will be a commission of women and men, clergy, religious and laity, designed to promote the participation of women in the Catholic Church in Australia. It will have an office which will support its activity. The Commission will facilitate the implementation of the decisions and recommendations of the ACBC in response to the Report on the Participation of Women in the Catholic Church in Australia, Woman and Man: One in Christ Jesus, and will be the focus and catalyst for ongoing dialogue. The Commission will be accountable to the ACBC through the Bishops' Committee for the Laity.

Read more: Commission for Australian Catholic Women

Proposals

Proposals which have emerged from of the report "Woman and Man: One in Christ Jesus", which bishops might wish to consider for possible action in their dioceses:

Read more: Proposals