Be The Change Aotearoa

Be The Change Aotearoa

Pink Shoes into the Vatican protests role of women in Catholic Church

Dear Rene

Women’s role in the Catholic Church is the focus of a New Zealand group working for gender equality in Church leadership.

A media release from “Be the Change, Catholic Church, Aotearoa” notes New Zealand women’s suffrage was granted on 19 September 1893, and this month’s anniversary shows the Catholic Church is 129 years behind New Zealand in recognising the leadership skills of women.

To mark the event on 18 September, Catholic women in Wellington are mounting an installation of shoes between Parliament and Sacred Heart Cathedral.

The organisers are highlighting God’s call for the Church to allow women to exercise their gifts.

They say women are often the majority of any Catholic congregation and are usually the ones organising the various tasks that need to be done at every liturgical celebration.

Yet the Catholic Church continues the injustice of refusing to recognise women’s worth by denying them equality in leadership roles, their media release says.

The shoes signify the largely unpaid work women have done for the Church throughout the ages. These contributions have been recorded in short, printed vignettes accompanying the shoes.

There will be splashes of pink, including on some of the shoes, and music, singing and speeches.

The day starts at midday with shoes being placed in a walking pattern from the steps of Parliament onto Molesworth Street, around the corner into Hill Street and across the road to the cathedral.

The event is due to finish around 2pm when the shoes will be gathered up and donated to charity.

The idea for the project came to light two years ago, but the action was postponed several times because of Covid-19 lockdowns.

The women invited Cardinal John Dew to meet them again outside the Sacred Heart Cathedral on 18 September. They would like to give him a “suffrage charter” of requests about women’s role in participation in decision-making at all levels.

With Dew in Rome, Coadjutor Archbishop of Wellington Paul Martin has responded.

“I appreciate your recognition of the synodal process and what has emerged as part of that, some of which supports what your group wishes to promote regarding the role of women in the authorised leadership and decision-making bodies within the Church,” he said.

“My sense is that the gathering … on the 18th has more of a focus of making a statement and furthering a particular point of view, rather than for the building up of the Church community, especially at a time when we are fragile.

“There are many ways we can celebrate the role of women in the Catholic church, and also lay men over the years.

“This is something for us to do as a Church community in our own places rather than starting at Parliament and then moving to a church that is currently closed.

“I do struggle with the idea that the participation of women has been and is invisible,” Martin said.

“There are so many who do work, have worked and worshipped in our Church community, and who have made a significant contribution to the life of the Church and have served it in the way we are all called to do.

“There are many women who have leadership roles in the Wellington Archdiocese and in parishes also.

“I do not think that our church communities see them as invisible, and I know that I don’t.

“I think that is a different issue to being part of the authorised leadership and decision-making bodies within the Church,” he said.

New Zealand’s Catholic Bishops Conference (NZCBC) says six themes have emerged from the diocesan phase of the 2023 Synod on Synodality.

These are: inclusion, gathering, leadership, education and formation, mission, and synodality and change.

The leadership theme is particularly relevant to the women’s request, saying “Collaborative ministry should become the norm, with greater sacramental involvement for lay people.”
(CathNews NZ Pacific. 1 September 2022)

If you have any queries, please email bethechange.aotearoa@gmail.com

And please forward this information to anyone you know who may be interested in the conference or supporting MOW.

Forwarded on behalf of Be The Change Aotearoa by ACCCR (Australasian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform).

Correspondence should be directed to, bethechange.aotearoa@gmail.com

©2022 Australasian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (ACCCR) | 11 Kandra Road, Sheidow Park, South Australia. 5158, Australia

Share On:

Search Our Site

Explore Our Categories

Latest News

Speaking Out with One Unified Global Voice

"...Until we raise a common voice, we will not only not be heard, we will not even be listened to....   

My hope is that by speaking out together - a strong chorus of calls for reform - we can provide a common, a clear, a strong and ongoing voice for the yet incomplete vision of Vatican II.

In common cause, let us band together across the world. By our desire to be heard on particular issues - all of them important - let us not lose the strength of our common voice by reducing it to a whisper.

In light of this, we invite individuals and organizations to join together in making known our opinions for the good of our Church. By uniting our voices, it is not about abandoning the unique work of your organization but rather about how your work can enhance global reform."

Sr. Joan Chittister, CCRI Special advisor

"We have to join our forces in order to reach a real breakthrough in this window of opportunity." Hans Kung, CCRI Consultor

"When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion." [Ethiopian proverb]

"Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable." [Kenyan proverb]

"(The Christian faithful) have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful." (Canon 212 §3)

CCRI is also interested in helping support various causes in regions of the world by garnering the support of our entire global community for those who need support beyond their parish, organization, or locale. Send us (1) your name and affiliation, or (2) the name of your group with some description of your goals, membership, and numbers. Click here to see those organizations who have already joined together speaking out for reform of our Church.

Social Media

How to Contribute

© 2022 Catholic Church Reform Intl. All Rights Reserved Worldwide