Catholic Women Striking from Church Involvement during the Month of May

Women are the lifeblood of the Church

We will make our presence known by our absence!

It is time to boycott the institutional Church. If women stopped showing up for Church, stopped working for the diocese, stopped donating, the institution would screech to a halt. Women must refuse to participate in our own oppression. Without women, the pews and the collection baskets would be nearly empty.

Starting on May 3 (World Day of Prayer for Vocations), the entire month of May will launch coordinated, global, prophetic demonstrations or witnesses demanding women’s equality in the Roman Catholic Church through strikes, re-directions of resources, and radical acts.

We find inspiration and hope in the Maria 2.0 movement that started last May in Germany, and continues to be a witness for equality through demonstrations and courageous dialogue for women in the German Church. We are strengthened by the support of numerous other reform organizations in this effort and we ourselves are joining in this movement.

Check out the website and sign up for updates.

Invite your friends and spread the word through your own newsletters and websites. Let the world know you’re taking part. Without the labor of Catholic women, the Church would grind to a halt. Let’s disrupt business as usual and demand justice in our Church!

Click here to download Catholic Women Strike toolkit.

Indian Women demand equality in the Church: submit memorandum to Cardinal Gracias

About 150 Catholic women in India have delivered a petition to Cardinal Oswald Gracias, asking that he take concrete steps to better include women in decision-making roles in the global church.


The women are partly responding to a February NCR interview with Gracias, in which the cardinal acknowledged a bias among the members of the Catholic Church’s all-male hierarchy against giving women more leadership roles. In that interview, he also said he and his peers must “shed this prejudice.”

The three-page memorandum praises Gracias’ words in the interview, but asks for “changes in the policies, practices and structures of the Church so that women can participate fully in … leadership.”

Gracias is the archbishop of Mumbai, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and one of six members of Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals.

The petition effort was organized by Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, a medical doctor and scientist who has served as a consultor to the bishops’ conference and helped draft the organization’s gender policy.

Some of the strongest language in the petition refers to that policy, passed in 2010 and the first of its kind in the global church. The policy said the Indian church “rejects all types of discrimination against women as being contrary to God’s intent and purpose,” according to the memo.

“Women continue to be discriminated against by keeping them out of decision-making bodies of the Church, which are controlled by clerics,” states the memo. “Women have no say in the policy making that shapes the liturgy, worship, theology and practices of the church, including those that affect their own lives.”

In the February NCR interview at the Vatican, Gracias said he had become a “convert” to the cause of women seeking more opportunities for responsibility in the church.

“I am now an advocate for women’s rights in the church,” Gracias said. “I empathize with why women are asking for greater rights.”

Gajiwala and several other women delivered the petition March 8 to Fr. K.T. Emmanuel, the judicial vicar for the Mumbai Archdiocese, asking the priest to pass the document on to Gracias. They also attended together one of the Masses that morning at the city’s Holy Name Cathedral.

In a brief interview, Gajiwala expressed happiness that Gracias had spoken about women’s rights in the church and said women in India “are looking forward to him taking concrete steps to change the existing reality.”

Gajiwala said, however, that she was “shocked” that the cardinal attributed his conversion on women’s rights to his experience at the February 2019 Vatican summit of bishops’ conference presidents in Rome on clergy sexual abuse, where several women spoke.

“Women in India have been asking for places at the decision-making table since the early 1980s,” she said. “It seems almost as if he has not been listening to us.”  [article written by Joshua J. McElwee who is National Catholic Reporter Vatican correspondent]

The Indian Woman are now requesting international endorsements to support their memorandum. To do so, after reading their letter, email Virginia Saldanha with this message:” I endorse the memorandum on Women’s equality in the Church.” Name and country.

Join the local Pilgrimage organized by

Catholic Women’s Council

In the coming months until November 2021, all CWC members will embark on a pilgrimage, a time of study and reflection, of prayer and storytelling, of walking and talking together on real and virtual paths. All of this in your own community. The concerns and abilities of women in different cultures and communities will be shared. We will unite our many different voices in a single vision of hope.The goal of these local pilgrimages is to explore the understanding of equal dignity and equal rights in the Church. This pilgrimage can take many different forms. We are creative! There will be meetings (in churches, community halls and coffee houses, wine taverns and in the open air), lectures, common prayers, conversations, artistic expressions, concerts, debates, dancing, bicycle tours, etc.We will share the ideas, actions and experiences of the pilgrimage through a newly created website so that we can learn about each other and be inspired by what other groups around the world are doing.


This global pilgrimage will end in November 2021 in Rome. We shall carry our experiences, reflections and skills to Rome, bringing our struggle for the equal rights and dignity of women to the institutional and spiritual home of our Church!

They invite all Roman Catholic associations, initiatives, networks, religious orders and ecclesiastical institutions to participate in the CWC if they agree with this statement and commit themselves to respect the values they profess, as well as to organize local “pilgrimage” activities.

Joining the CWC means for an organization/group:
  • To participate in the pilgrimage to Rome with measures/actions appropriate to your culture and context and cooperate with the other members
  • To agree with the CWC statement
  • To announce on their own website and in social media that they are part of the CWC
  • To share the events and actions they organize as CWC members on their website and in social media
  • To give priority to this pilgrimage project in the coming months by: organizing at least one action during this pilgrimage process Using the materials provided by CWC (alongside their own materials)

To participate, email Suzanna Flisowska with the details of your organization and of the actions you will be taking.

Your donations and contributions of ideas are most appreciated

Grateful to all for your donations and contributions of ideas. It is beyond time that we rise up and shout out that women must be recognized as equals in the Catholic Church.

Rene Reid
CCRI, director

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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.

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