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Ann Pereira speaks at the CWLA national conference in Sydney (Supplied)

Catholic Women’s League members from six states — Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland — gathered in Sydney from May 3-5 for the CWLA triennial conference, the first since 2019. Source: Melbourne Catholic.

This year’s conference program featured sessions run by the league’s national bioethics and social issues convenors exploring some of the issues associated with gender identity, abortion and the availability of online pornography to children.

The league’s international secretary, who attended the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations in New York in March, spoke of the advantages of the league’s “Economic and Social Council Roster Status” with the UN.

The conference heard the UN status was not only useful in observing and reporting back to CWLA members on current issues, but also in holding to account governments and organisations involved in action the league either supports or questions, such as banning female genital mutilation or enforcing a right to abortion.

Guest speaker Joanna Howe shared her thoughts on pro-life legal advocacy. Noting that the “debate” is often one-sided, Dr Howe drew on her legal expertise in sharing her concerns.

Elaborating on the case study of St Paul the Apostle, guest speaker Fr Richard Leonard SJ explored the theme of Christian hope in the context of contemporary mental health challenges – particularly those affecting young people – delivering a timely message of forgiveness and the need for respectful disagreement.

Catholic Women’s League of Victoria and Wagga Wagga President Jane Munro paid tribute to the league’s branch members, describing them as “the backbone of each league member organisation”.

“For CWLA to continue to serve women in the coming decades it needs to continue to grow, meeting the needs of women in their local parishes and communities,” she told the conference.


‘Through prayer and action’: Catholic Women’s League members gather at 2024 national conference (Melbourne Catholic