A group of Catholic women took to the streets of New Orleans' French Quarter over the weekend to call for more female church leaders as all male-cardinals gathered for a conclave in Rome to elect the next pope.


The Women's Ordination Conference told The Times-Picayune that the group would continue its protest on Tuesday by traveling to Rome, where demonstrators would send up puffs of pink smoke as a response to the white smoke that signals the election of a new pope.

"The women of the church, and the members of the Women’s Ordination Conference, send up pink smoke to protest the lack of women’s voices at the conclave, and to protest the ban on women from all leadership and decision making positions in the church," protester Kim Nunez explained. “We recognize this 'election' as the celebration of patriarchy, and the painful reminder of the misogyny of the hierarchy.”

Protest organizer organizer Jennifer Molina said that the group was also calling for the church to accept responsibility for sex crimes and to end corruption.

"It’s just as divine and just as valid when the call from God goes to a woman as to a man," Molina insisted. "This practice is based on sexism, and it’s a sin; it’s time for us to be called to repentance, and dialogue, and reconciliation together.”

Former Archbishop of New Orleans Alfred Clifton Hughes refused to comment on the protest, but said that the church wanted women to serve "in every way that God intends."

Watch this video from WSDU-TV, broadcast March 10, 2013.