Message on the Occasion of the World March of Women: Marching Together

Thursday, February 24 2000

Ottawa (CCCB) — Most Rev. Gerald Wiesner, OMI, Bishop of Prince George and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), has given his support to the main objectives of the World March of Women that begins March 8, 2000, with the goal of putting an end to poverty and violence against women.

In a message entitled Marching Together, Bishop Wiesner reviews various statements made by the CCCB and its related organizations over the last ten years concerning the main objectives of the March and which correspond to declarations made by the Holy See at recent international conferences.

Bishop Wiesner recalled that the CCCB has often condemned violence against women (To Live Without Fear, 1991 and No One Shall Make Them Afraid, 1992), as well as supporting specific concerns of women in the face of poverty (Will the Poor Have the Most to Fear from Social Security Reforms?, 1994, and The Struggle Against Poverty: A Sign of Hope for Our World, 1996).

The CCCB President noted the March is taking place during the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 which stresses the biblical themes of forgiveness, joy, jubilation, reconciliation and renewal.

“Women have been abused, impoverished, oppressed and undermined for centuries,” Bishop Wiesner said. “While much progress has been made both in the Church and in society, there is still much to be done to facilitate the full participation of women, to recognize their contributions and to enable them to live without fear.

“I pray that the March in its many manifestations may truly be a moment of grace and an occasion for life-giving solutions, new awareness, new friendships and new possibilities.”

Noting “there will be a diversity of perspectives on the implications of the objectives and a wide variety of approaches to implementation,” Bishop Wiesner said that “Catholic leaders will also want to take their place in the March on the basis of our Church’s teaching on the equality of men and women, the preferential option for the poor, solidarity with the oppressed, respect for human life and dignity, and on marriage as an equal partnership between husband and wife to which the transmission of life is entrusted.”

The World March of Women begins March 8, 2000 (International Women’s Day) and ends October 17, 2000 (International Day for the Elimination of Poverty).