St. Joan's International Alliance: Resolutions passed at its Conventions in Freiburg 1963 and Antwerp 1964 from 'We Won't Keep Silence Any Longer'

St. Joan's International Alliance: Resolutions passed at its Conventions in Freiburg 1963 and Antwerp 1964

published in Wir schweigen nicht länger! (We Won't Keep Silence Any Longer!), Interfeminas-Verlag, 1964, pp.111-112

The St. Joan’s International Alliance (formerly The Catholic Women’s Suffrage Society) at its convention in Freiburg, Germany, 1963 and Antwerp 1964, adopted a series of resolutions which were published by “The Catholic Citizen”, the Alliance’s official organ, of October 1963 and 1964. Since the Alliance is a nongovernmental organization associated with the UNO, these resolutions also refer to problems within the latter’s competence. It is a novelty that a women’s organization has taken a stand in regard to the position of women in the Roman Catholic Church.

Education

As the greater part of catechetical instruction is being entrusted to the laity and more particularly to women, St. Joan’s International Alliance requests the appropriate authorities to permit women to follow the courses in theology of all grades, to take the necessary qualifying examinations and to receive the diplomas and degrees now accessible only to men.

Fuller Participation of Women in the Service of the Church

In view of the growing desire for the fuller participation of the laity in the Apostolate, St. Joan’s International Alliance re-affirms its belief that the dedicated work done by so many women for the Church would be more firmly based if they had some outward sign of the official support and blessing of the Church. As a concrete suggestion St. Joan’s International Alliance submits that, if in future, diaconal duties are to be entrusted to laymen as an independent ministry, this ministry be open to both men and women.

St. Joan’s International Alliance respectfully requests that representatives of the Catholic laity both, men and women, be invited to attend meetings of the Commissions of the Ecumenical Council as experts.

St. Joan’s International Alliance welcomes the setting up by His Holiness Pope John XXIII of a commission for the revision of Canon Law. Encouraged by the words of His Holiness in Pacem in Terris the Alliance expresses the hope that special consideration will be given to those Canons which refer to women.

St. Joan’s International Alliance re-affirms its loyalty and filial devotion and expresses its conviction that should the Church in her wisdom and in her good time decide to extend to women the dignity of the priesthood, women would be willing and eager to respond.

Liturgy

St. Joan’s International Alliance respectfully requests that the prayers in the Nuptial Mass said over the bride and bridegroom after the Pater Noster be so worded as to apply to both spouses.

Resolutions added in Antwerp 1964:

Liturgy

St. Joan’s International Alliance expresses its satisfaction that in the constitution on the Liturgy (III. 78) the prayer for the bride in the Nuptial Mass has been duly amended to remind both spouses of their equal obligation of mutual fidelity.

Revision of Canon Law

St. Joan’s International Alliance, encouraged by the Encyclical Pacem in Terris, respectfully petitions the Commission entrusted with the Revision of Canon Law to amend those Canons which concern women so that these no longer assign to women a position of inferiority which no longer corresponds with their civil and social status.

With this end in view, the Alliance submits that the fundamental right of all baptised persons be recognised as affirmed in Canon 87:

«Baptismate homo constituitur in Ecclesia Christi persona cum omnibus Christianorum iuribus et officiis, nisi, ad iura quod attinet obstet obex, ecclesiasticae communionis vinculum impediens, vel lata ab Ecclesia censura.».

The desired changes in the Codex of the Church’s legislation, would give recognition to the dignity of women and accord them greater possibilities of service to the Church.

The Alliance therefore begs for the revision of certain Canons (for instance Canons 93, 98, 506, 709, 813, 968, 1067, 1262, 1264, 1327, 1380, 1979, 2004) and further requests that qualified women be consulted in the revision of these Canons.

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