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While attention focuses on the black or white smoke that will tell the world whether a new Pope is chosen, some Catholic groups are using pink smoke to send a message of their own.

Women who gathered today outside Holy Name Cathedral say the ways of the Church hierarchy are exclusionary and patriarchal.  They argue that the Cardinals are not acting on Jesus Christ’s message of equality and community and are not meeting the spiritual needs of half the flock.

The women sent up a plume of pink smoke in protest outside the Cathedral this morning.
The group says women are disenfranchised from the papal conclave.  They are not voting and not eligible to become the Pontiff.

There have been similar protests this week in Vatican City calling for women of faith to begin to create a new Church that respects the decisions of females.

They say women make up the majority of Mass-going Catholics and more than 80% of its workforce.  Therefore, they argue, the conclave process is simply unfair.

This same group was here in 2005, prior to the selection of Pope Benedict XVI.

Sister Donna Quinn of the National Coalition of American Nuns told WGN that the Roman Catholic Church needs a radical overhaul.

“It could be a lifetime, but we’ll keep struggling and we’ll keep working,” Sister Quinn said.  “When you look at the conclave, you see that it’s not transparent.  That’s the kind of a Church that we want.”

“Women do everything in the life of the Church — everything except leadership in the higher levels of decision-making,” said group member Barbara Marian.  “I’m here out of my anger and grief about that, but also my hope for the Church and my love for the Church, that the Holy Spirit will inspire and bring forward women in leadership positions.”

Holy Name Cathedral will host a Mass of thanksgiving for the new Pope once he is selected.  If a Pope is selected this afternoon that Mass will be celebrated at the regular 5:15 liturgy.