Target: Erin Saiz Hanna, Director of the Women’s Ordination Conference
Goal: Thank female protesters at the Vatican for drawing attention to women’s rights within the Catholic Church
A group of women from the Women’s Ordination Conference released pink smoke over the vatican to protest the Catholic Church’s prohibition of female priesthood. It is traditional to release white smoke from the Sistine Chapel chimney once a new pope has been chosen. The protest took place outside of the conclave to select the newest pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina. The female protesters hoped to draw attention to the insubtantial role played by women within the Church’s highest circles. As one protester said, “The Catholic Church should be a healthy and vibrant place with equality, with both men and women called to the priesthood.”
Amy Goodman interviewed one protester on Democracy Now. Erin Saiz Hanna, director of the Women’s Ordination Conference, said the protest is particularly critical because the Vatican has a seat at the UN and makes decisions that affect women on a global scale. The Conference is one of the largest and oldest organizations for the advancement of women in the Catholic Church. The protesters wanted to act at the conclave to choose the new pope specifically because women were not included in the decision-making. The protesters also hope to draw attention to other women’s issues within the Church, including divorce, birth control, and lesbian rights.
In 1994, Pope John Paul II banned discussion of women’s ordination. Praise female “pink smoke” protesters for their courage, and demand that the vatican include women in Church leadership roles.
Dear Ms. Hanna,
During the recent conclave to choose the newest pope, members of the Women’s Ordination Conference led a protest to bring awareness to the lack of women’s rights within the Catholic Church. Just as onlookers were waiting to see white smoke drift over the Sistine Chapel, signifying the selection of a new pope, brave protesters released pink smoke to draw attention to the lack of women in Church decision-making. I thank you for speaking out about an issue that is quietly tolerated by female Catholics the world over. I praise you for demanding recognition in the name of female ordination, women’s reproductive rights, and the rights of lesbians and divorcees.
I hope that the “pink smoke protest” at the Vatican, timed astutely with the selection of a new pope, will initiate change within the Catholic Church. I commend you and the protesters for your bravery, and I encourage you to continue the fight for women’s rights within the Church.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Jean-Pol GRANDMONT via Wikimedia