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Priests to be asked to affirm ‘Declaration on the Status of Women’ 

May 28, 2019 • For immediate release 

Priests attending the June 24-27 Assembly of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests will be asked to affirm the “AUSCP Declaration on the Status of Women.” 

“The signs of the times suggest that what were once considered to be the most effective ways of spreading the Gospel are no longer sufficient,” according to the document. “We need new models of universal and parochial leadership to stimulate Church renewal.  Such models must be developed in such a way that, “there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for all are one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

The declaration was prepared by a collaborative team of four priests, two women religious and two lay women and approved by the AUSCP Leadership Team (the association’s board of directors). “With hope for our future, the members of our group . . . were attentive to the ‘signs of the times’ and the movement of the Holy Spirit, the writers conclude. “Each one reflected on the status of women in the world and in the Church.  From multiple perspectives and disciplines a common theme emerged:  the role of women has evolved with a growing demand for the justice of equal dignity and equality with men.”  

Regarding the ongoing scandal of sex abuse in the church, the document states that “we, the People of God, can overcome the grief and anxiety caused by the crises in our Catholic Church today, but only if the institutional Church engages women as equals in dealing with those crises and overcoming them. 

Following affirmation, the document is intended to be distributed widely: “The challenge for the future of the church is to institute pathways to shared governance and ministry that have been open to male, celibate clergy alone. To do so begins with conversation and dialogue among all the People of God.” 

The text of the document will be available following affirmation by the Assembly. The document’s preamble clearly states what is intended:

“The Holy Spirit speaks to us through various disciplines and our own experiences.  Historical, cosmological, anthropological, biological, scriptural, philosophical, theological, sacramental, liturgical and pastoral reflections all support our conviction that this is a moment when we can engage in a process that recognizes our common Baptism and the vital role of women in the present and future of Church ministry.  We offer contemporary insights in the following sections for your consideration and discussion.

“May we engage in genuine dialogue as men and women of faith?  We call upon the Holy Spirit to guide our dialogue and action so that our joy might be complete (John 16:24).  We invite you to join us, in the words of the Synod, in a work of ‘courageous cultural conversion and change in daily pastoral practice.’” 


Contact Rev. Bernard “Bob” Bonnot,, (330) 397-1257, or

Sr. Jacquelyn Doepker, OSF, Executive Secretary,, (872) 205-5862

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