CNWE Affirms Pope Francis’ Decision to Appoint Commission to Restore Women Deacons

The Catholic Network for Women’s Equality affirms Pope Francis’ decision to establish a commission to study the question of women as deacons in the Catholic church. This decision follows a request by women religious from around the world (The International Union of Superiors General) when they met with the Pope this past spring.

CNWE members are encouraged to know that Dr. Phyllis Zagano, an international expert who has doggedly researched and advocated for restoring women to the permanent diaconate will be a member of the commission. Dr. Zagano was a keynote speaker at a conference on women deacons hosted by St. Michael’s University College, Toronto (May, 2016). As Dr. Zagano states: “Given the many evidences of women deacons throughout history, the restoration of women to the diaconate seems to be something Francis could do easily.”

For the Catholic church to flourish as a place of justice and inclusion for all, the leadership of the Church needs to dismantle sexist thought and practice, and open to the participation of women at all levels of ministry and decision making in the church. A foundation of Catholic/Christian theology is the full dignity of women and men. Due to the intransigence of our leadership, however, this has yet to be realized in the practice of our church. This commission is a step in the right direction.

As Canadian women, we are heartened that our current federal government has recognized the contribution that women can make to Canadian society by appointing women in greater numbers to our federal cabinet. We hope that this civic progress, will come to be reflected in our Catholic parishes. We will continue, as we have been doing for 35 years, to work toward that goal.

Women Rising: Shaping a Way Forward!

At CNWE’s National Conference 2015 (May 29-31, Toronto), CNWE members continued the process of developing a Vision Statement, Mission Statement and Core Values. These new statements, ratified at our AGM on June 1, will serve to shape our way forward.

VISION                                                                                                                            Justice and equality for all persons manifested in word and action in the Catholic church and throughout the world.

MISSION                                                                                                                               As a Canadian organization, we connect, support and represent people who seek justice for all the baptized within the Catholic church, for women throughout the world and for all of creation.


  • inclusivity
  • creativity
  • celebration
  • compassion
  • solidarity
  • collaboration
  • dialogue



Core values: inclusivity, creativity, celebration, solidarity, compassion, collaboration, dialogue

Just a Few Days Until Our National Conference

Women Rising: Shaping a Way Forward is the theme of CNWE’s twentieth national conference to be hosted at Seneca College in Toronto this coming weekend, May 29-31, 2015.  The conference planning committee is excited to welcome members from far across the country and nearer to Toronto.

The weekend will include prayer, song, dance, workshops on domestic violence, deliberations about our mission and vision, the annual general meeting and lots of time to renew relationships.

Things get started on Friday night at 7:00 pm with a keynote address by Sally Armstrong.

Reflections on Catholic Family Life

In preparation for the Synod in Rome in October, CNWE members are sharing their reflections on Catholic Family Life with their local clergy. These reflections are based on a process of reflection on our personal experiences of family, many of which are articulated in a report that was shared with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops last year. To read the report, please click CNWE Reflections on Family Life Final.