Original Research - Special Collection: Negotiating diversity in Christian Communities

‘Not in our name without us’ – The intervention of Catholic Women Speak at the Synod of Bishops on the Family: A case study of a global resistance movement by Catholic women

Nontando Hadebe
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 1 | a3481 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i1.3481 | © 2016 Nontando Hadebe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 May 2016 | Published: 22 November 2016

About the author(s)

Nontando Hadebe, Department of Philosophy, Systematic and Practical Theology, University of South Africa, South Africa


This article will illustrate through a case study of the intervention of the Catholic Women Speak Network (CWSN) at the Synod of Bishops on the Family, the dynamic movement within Steyn’s Critical Diversity Literacy theory from ‘reading’ the social script of injustice to conscientisation and finally actions for transformation, a methodology similar to that of feminist theologies. In the Catholic Church power, privilege and leadership are institutionalised in the hands of celibate males, and in the context of the Synod they had power to vote on teachings on family life. This hegemony that excludes women’s voices and essentialises women was challenged by the CWSN, illustrating connections between theory and praxis as well as diversity as a critical tool of resistance.


Diversity; Gender; Catholic; Resistance


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