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Votes for Catholic Women

From The OfficePerhaps you have seen reports from the Youth Synod (XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops: Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment) currently being held in Rome. Three Australian bishops are present, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP of Sydney, Archbishop Peter Comensoli of Melbourne, Bishop Mark Edwards of Melbourne and one youth representative, Sebastian Duhau from the Parramatta Diocese. In total there are 339 participants in the Synod on Youth, including 34 young people aged 18 to 29 from every continent of the world. There are 267 Synod Fathers—including cardinals, archbishops, bishops and auxiliary bishops—as well as 23 experts and 49 auditors.

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What a time we are in!

What a time we are in!As I write this, I’m aware that this week the Australian Catholic Bishops and Catholic Religious Australia will release a statement in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Last week the Pope addressed a letter to the People of God on the same topic. Bishops in Chile have resigned, as has an American Cardinal.

What a time we are in! Research conducted in 2016 in Australia showed that the confidence of Churchgoers in Church authorities has been damaged by the cases of sex abuse by priests and religious. More than one-third of Churchgoers stated that their respect for priests and religious declined as a result of these offences. Nearly two thirds of Churchgoers stated that the response of Church authorities to incidents of child sexual abuse had been inadequate and showed a complete failure of responsibility.

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Challenge and Change

Challenge and ChangeFollowing the recent meeting of the Council for Australian Catholic Women on 22 June, a consultation with women at Parramatta on 21 June and the upcoming feast of Mary Magdalene, this issue of Women Matter is full of energy! You will find several articles about challenge and change.

You will also notice that we are claiming the date for our next Colloquium in Adelaide 22-24 February. The Colloquium is much earlier in the year than usual in order to contribute to the ‘listening’ stage of the Plenary 2020.

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Restoring Mary Magdalene

From The Office 2018Do you know about it? Women in Maitland-Newcastle Diocese know it. They’ve even name an award for her.

I mean of course, the restoration of St Mary Magdalene. Since about thirteenth century in the tradition of the Western Christianity, Mary of Magdala has been misidentified as a sinner and a prostitute.

In fact, Scripture names her as a prime witness to the crucifixion and resurrection.

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Promising Start

Promising StartLast week I had the privilege of speaking (via Skype) with Marta Rodriguez Diaz from the Office for Women within the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life at the Vatican. She was impressed with what is happening through OPW and the CACW!

After all we have sixteen women aged between 25 and 35 who have commenced the two-year program Leadership for Mission. This program replaces the Young Catholic Women’s Fellowship and is conducted in partnership with Australian Catholic University and Catholic Mission. The first residential session will be held in the week after Easter. Rachelle Smith from Hobart is the new coordinator of the program.

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Guest Editorial

Guest EditorialIn October, the National Foundation for Australian Women hosted a dinner event at the National Press Club. The guest speaker was notable journalist Virginia Haussegger, who now leads the University of Canberra’s 50/50 by 2030 Foundation. The 50/50 by 2030 Foundation advocates for women’s equal representation in decision-making positions in government, public sector leadership and publicly listed companies in Australia. They receive widespread public support for this endeavour.

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Seeking Transformation

Seeking Transformation

What change are you hoping for in the Catholic Church? We know that the Royal Commission into sexual abuse will make strong recommendations to the Catholic Church. We know too that the Plenary Council which is planned for 2020 will be an invaluable opportunity to create change.

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Towards the Plenary Council

From The Office

In September last year the Colloquium for Australian Catholic Women was held at North Sydney. One powerful and energizing topic that emerged was the Plenary Council of the Australian Catholic Church that is planned for 2020. In September no details were known about the Plenary Council but the colloquium participants were enthusiastic about the opportunity to shape the future direction of the Australian Church.

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Mentoring for change

Mentoring for changeRecently in Canberra there was an incredible fund raising campaign called “Love Your Sister”. I hope you heard about it in the media. Connie Johnson is dying from cancer and her brother Samuel is committed to raising funds for cancer research. As a result there have been some creative ventures to raise money for cancer research, including Samuel riding a unicycle around Australia!

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HIDDEN FIGURES: Is there enough space for women in the Church?

Is there enough space for women in the Church?

This guest editorial was written by Tracey Edstein, editor of Aurora Magazine, the official magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

Director Theodore Melfi’s Hidden Figures tells the true – albeit massaged for maximum screen impact – story of the women whose mathematical genius was integral to the United States’ mission to explore space, ultimately seeing a man on the moon in July 1969.

Read more: HIDDEN FIGURES: Is there enough space for women in the Church?