L’Osservatore Romano “Women Church World”

We are delighted to collaborate with L’Osservatore Romano  in distributing the English translation of their Women Church World magazine through our website. Lucetta Scaraffia, editor of the Supplement, is a contributor to the book Catholic Women Speak: Bringing Our Gifts to the Table, and she was an auditor at the Synod on the Family in October 2015.

December 2016:

“Women Fleeing”: This is the topical and urgent theme of this month’s Women Church World magazine:

We are getting used to seeing the motionless bodies of drowned children: for all who have at heart the value of life this image is the bleakest, the most inhuman and the most unbearable. We have touched the bottom but have not yet begun to rise again. The new data for 2016 on tragedies at sea leave no room for uncertainty or for hope: at least 600 children and 3,800 adults have already lost their lives or have disappeared in the Mediterranean, which is confirmed as the cemetery of desperate people fleeing from wars and poverty in the southern regions of the world.

The Catholic Women Speak Network congratulate editor Lucetta Scaraffia and her team for their perseverance, vision and commitment to raising the profile of women, through this consistently challenging and interesting magazine published under the auspices of L’Osservatore Romano. We are pleased to see this publication hosting a magazine dedicated to covering such a wide range of issues which impact in significant and diverse ways upon the lives of women.

November 2016:

The November edition of Women Church World magazine focuses on the theme, “Forgotten Women”:

The Greeks called her Mnemosyne. She was the goddess of memory, the goddess who kept the memory of human beings active, making them retain whatever she wished. We have chosen to dedicate this issue of women church world to activities which are exactly the opposite of Mnemosyne’s: to the evil art of forgetting, in its historically most frequently practised manifestation, namely the art of forgetting women.

October 2016:

“Why Rapes Happen”: This is the title theme of this month’s Women Church World magazine, which once again brings together writers from around the world to discuss the vital question of violence against women in the context of war, poverty and abuse.

September 2016:

This month, the Women Church World magazine published by L’Osservatore Romano takes as its title the provocative title “Do Women Exist?” Once again, the magazine brings together a range of articles to challenge and inform, from the biblical Ruth to Simone de Beauvoir, with an excellent range of international and multi-cultural faith perspectives as well.

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July 2016:

The July edition of “Women Church World” is on the theme of “Rebuilding Hopes”, with powerful and inspiring stories of women’s work for reconciliation and peace-building covering a wide range of historical and contemporary perspectives. There are articles on women in the Iranian parliament, “Defying ISIS on bicycles”, on the biblical Bathsheba, on “The ‘via pulchritudinis’ of the Benedictine women of Orselina” and many more.

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June 2016:

This month sees the first of three monthly editions on the theme of ‘Female Identity’ in the Donna Chiesa Mondo magazine – published by L’Osservatoro Romano. This month the focus is on ‘Motherhood’. You can download the PDF in Italian and access English translations of all the articles at this link.

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May 2016:


The “Women-Church-World” Supplement was relaunched in May 2016 as a full colour magazine, the first edition of which is available to download in Italian or to read online in English at this link. The Tablet’s Rome correspondent, Christopher Lamb, writing about the launch of the new magazine, observed that

Lucetta Scaraffia, the co-ordinator of Women-Church-World, the new monthly magazine published by L’Osservatore Romano, said that a “hidden revolution” had taken place during the last century with women making an increasingly important contribution to the intellectual life of Catholicism.

But this, she explained, had been “almost ignored” by the Church even though it had intensified in the years following the Second Vatican Council when more and more women started to study theology.

The theme of this month’s new-look edition is “The Visitation”, which was the theme chosen for the first edition of the supplement five years ago.

Once again, Lucetta and the editorial team are to be congratulated on a rich collection of essays and reflections which push against established boundaries and create greater spaces of inclusion, dialogue and influence for women in the Church. The new format is yet another exciting development in the ongoing struggle by and for women to be fully accepted, respected and included as persons made in the image of God.

April 2016:


Pippa Blackall, Miriam the Prophetess St Edmundsbury Cathedral Suffolk.jpg

Pippa Blackall, Miriam the ProphetessSt Edmundsbury Cathedral Suffolk

This month’s edition of “Women Church World” is titled “The Gaze of Jewish Women“. Once again, Lucetta Scaraffia has assembled a range of engaging and informative articles on a vital topic which should be of interest to a wide range of readers interested in Jewish-Christian relations and the role of women in our different traditions.

March 2016:

The March edition of the “Women Church World” supplement has the highly significant title, “Women Who Preach“. Once again, editor Lucetta Scaraffia has braved significant opposition to put together an inspiring collection of contributions by and about women in the Church, including an article from Madeleine Fredell OP – a member of the Catholic Women Speak Network – titled “My vocation is to preach“.   Fredell asks,  “How do you cope with being Catholic, feminist and Swedish and a Dominican sister?”

L’Osservatore Romano is the Vatican’s official newspaper. This suggests a radical change in church teaching might be immanent. Could this be one of the revolutionary changes that Cardinal Walter Kasper says will be included in Pope Francis’s forthcoming Apostolic Exhortation on the 2015 Synod on the Family? According to Kaspar, “The document will mark the start of the greatest revolution experienced by the Church in 1500 years.” NB: This makes it greater even than the Reformation!

Canon law currently restricts preaching the homily during Mass to ordained priests or deacons. Pope John Paul II closed all possible loopholes and reinforced the prohibition on lay preachers – which of course includes women – in the document Redemptionis Sacramentum. For more on this, please see this link.

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Unknown Aragonese artist, Mary Magdalene Preaching Before the Princes (late 15th century), Accademia Gallery, Florence


February 2016:

This month, the supplement ‘Associations of Christian Women‘ celebrates female solidarity and courage in the face of many different challenges and struggles. There are stories from the Bible and the history of the Church, from contemporary women’s movements around the world, from Christian, Jewish and Muslim women’s lives, from literature, art and hagiography. There are stories of women’s struggles and achievements, of suffering and celebration, of leadership and inspiration. You can read about ‘A nomad called Hagar‘, written by Sister Obiorah Mary Jerome from Nigeria, or read Elisa Zamboni’s account of the life of sixth century Saint Scholastica. Canadian bishop Paul-André Durocher explains why he raised the question of women deacons and other issues pertaining to the recognition of women’s equality at the October 2015 Synod on the Family. Shafique Khokhar of AsiaNews tells of Razia Irshad, a 46 year old Pakistani Christian and mother of 7, whose life was transformed when a small loan enabled her to start to grow and sell her own vegetables. Lucetta Scaraffia reflects on the story of forbidden love between a priest and a woman in Colleen McCullough’s The Thorn Birds. To read these and other powerful and moving stories and reports, please click on the link at the bottom of the article or here ‘ Women Church World‘.


January 2016:

This month’s contribution: “Collaboration between Women and Men” by Lucetta Scaraffia (2 January 2016)