Catholic women's group in France launches petition
The Skirt Committee launches online petition calling on the Church to recognize men and women as equals in rights and responsibilities.
"Women scorned, without the right to speak, without the right to decide, without any right on their own bodies, we've had enough!"
reads the text of the petition on the change.org website. (Photo by CORINNE SIMON/CIRIC)
Founded in 2009 by Anne Soupa and Christine Pedotti to promote male-female equality in the Church, the Skirt Committee (Comité de la Jupe) announced that "in view of various affairs in the Catholic Church" it had launched a new petition reaffirming "its opposition to the condition currently given to women in their own Church."
"Their exclusion from all responsibility is an aggravating cause of sex abuse since the male and celibate structure of the clergy leads to a closed world where impunity rules," says the press release accompanying the March 25 petition.
"Moreover, this exclusion is the major cause of the clericalism condemned by Pope Francis. Thus, the attached petition demands that equality of responsibilities and rights between men and women finally be recognized in the Catholic Church."
"Matters cannot go on as they are. Things must change!"
"Women have been scorned, without any right to speak, without any right to decide, without any rights over their own bodies and we have had enough!" continues the petition, which is posted online at change.org.
"In the Catholic Church, all responsibility and all power remains in the hands of celibate men, who alone are authorized to decide, govern and teach, and who claim to be mediators of the relationship between God and the sacred," adds the petition, which passed 1,000 signatories on March 26.
"This is the kind of situation that forms the origin of abuse towards women, children and fragile persons," the Skirt Committee argues.
"The rights of men and women are indivisible. As a matter of law, there is no such thing as complementarity or difference, there is only equality, an original equality. 'God created humanity in his own image, male and female, he created them."
The Skirt Committee adopted its name from comments made in 2008 by Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, the former Archbishop of Paris. Speaking in radio interview about the lack of women in Church leadership roles, he said: "The hardest thing is to find women who are well trained. It's not enough to wear a skirt. You must have something in your head."