Voices of Faith conference faces opposition from the Vatican due to some of its speakers
Voices of Faith, a conference that highlights the contributions and voices of Catholic women , has been going on for four years. Every year, the conference has been taking place within the walls of the Vatican. However, this year’s conference will be taking place in the Jesuit headquarters auditorium.
The reason for the change in location of the conference is due to the Vatican rejecting some of the women from the list of speakers, as the Vatican is trying to silence a handful of women speakers who stand for issues that go against the teachings of the Church. Ugandan Catholic activist and lesbian, Ssenfuka Joanita Warry, was one of the three speakers who didn’t get the Vatican’s approval.
The conference was set to take place during International Women’s Day, with “Why Women Matter” as the primary theme. The aim of Voices of Faith this year was to bring up conversations on how women can get more involved in the Church’s decision-making hierarchy, as male clergy members currently occupy all positions.
Head of Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, was the one who rejected the three speakers of the conference. Catholic academic and feminist, Tina Beattie and Ireland’s former President, Mary McAleese were the other two speakers who the Vatican didn’t want to speak at the event.
Greg Burke, Vatican’s spokesman, said the reason why Farrell went ahead with his decision was that the event was not sponsored by the Church. Also, due to the topics of discussion, there shouldn’t be any confusion as to why Farrell was against some of the speakers of the Voices of Faith.
Mary McAleese has been critical of the Church after their latest decision. She said that despite all the promises given by the popes, the International Declaration of Human Rights, and Second Vatican Council, women still haven’t been given the space or platform so that the world can hear their voices.
Although Pope Francis supports the fact that women should have opportunities to take up top jobs in the Vatican, he doesn’t favor them becoming priests.
Spent a wonderful two days in Rome with the inspirational Catholic women of Voices of Faith @vofwomen Yesterday’s conference #whywomenmatter was excellent. Disappointing none of those invited church leaders attended despite the claims they want to hear all voices in the church.
— Marie Collins (@marielco) March 9, 2018
Despite the pope being liberal, the Church’s stance on abortion, homosexuality, and larger female inclusion hasn’t witnessed any change. It isn’t clear if it is the church or the pope who is responsible for not bringing about any change.