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New Women's Commission now ready for dialogue

The Australian Catholic Bishops' Commission for Australian Catholic Women has reported that it has its secretariat set up and is now ready to facilitate dialogue between the bishops and Australian Catholic women.

Members of the Commission met in Canberra earlier this month at the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference Secretariat, where the Commission has recently established offices with a full time staff of Executive Officer Therese Vassarotti and Administrative Officer Mary Moran.

"The establishment of our full time secretariat has energised the work of the Commission," said Mrs Geraldine Hawkes, Chair of the Commission. "We are now able to focus more vigorously on the task being asked of us, and each Bishop is being invited to let the Commission have the name of a Diocesan contact."

Mrs Hawkes said the meetings with individual bishops "will facilitate communication within Dioceses particularly with regard to the implementation of the Diocesan proposals and the promotion of the ongoing dialogue on the participation of women in the Church."

The Commission has acknowledge that this dialogue is its key challenge, as it attempts to build on the foundations developed during the Research project. The research identified the "need to create a range of opportunities in the Church for respectful listening and dialogue concerning the experiences, needs and aspirations of women".

The Commission has also been responding to contact made by a number of groups across the country including Australian Catholic Commission for Employment Relations (ACCER), Australian Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes (ACLRI) and others with a view to developing action in a variety of ways in addition to what is already being undertaken by the various Committees of the ACBC.

This month's meeting was the Commission's fourth. It will meet again on 12 October, in Sydney.

Commission for Australian Catholic Women
Women's Commission: Preliminary statements and submissions