How is it that we accept the denigration of women within the practices of world religions?
This is a multimedia project focusing on religious disobedience: within the Roman Catholic Church, priesthood is strictly forbidden to women. Since 2002, hundreds of nuns and theologians have been stepping forward and have been ordained, building a worldwide movement called RCWP. They have created communities rooted in equality and inclusivity, showing what Catholicism could look like if men and women had the same spiritual authority. All of them have been excommunicated by the Vatican.
Giulia Bianchi have been working on it since 2012. She has visited 35 communities across United States, Canada and Colombia. The aim of the project is to create an historical archive of this movement; because their ordination is valid (although illicit), one day these women will be remembered as the first Roman Catholic women priests in history.
The documentation offers a counter-narrative to religious stereotypes and investigates the complexity of subjects, what shaped their understanding of the world: mystical experiences, lesbian love, child abuse, grief for a dead son, love for a male priest, working for the secret services, doing missionary work, living the Vietnam War, etc.
We're currently working on a web documentary and a book that will present photographs, interviews, drawings, archival photographs and documents, theological and feminist essays, becoming a reference point for this topic.
In a moment of very needed change, these photos and stories show us a forbidden reality that could become the future of the Church. It’s important to see what female spirituality looks like and the kind of communities women’ leadership creates: inclusive, not hierarchical, not dogmatic, and open to people of every race, gender and economical status. Women priests are not just female clericals, and for this reason they are very frightening to the Vatican. This is an attempt to show the lives of these women focusing on their transformative role within their patriarchal religion.
Here are few photographs shot between 2013 and 2015. Click on each image to see it larger.