“Women have to share power in the Church”, Luxembourger cardinal and President of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) Jean-Claude Hollerich has insisted.

– “It is not possible nowadays that decisions are only taken by men”

In the Church and in other spheres of society, “it is not possible nowadays that decisions are only taken by men”, Cardinal Hollerich told RTL in an April 11 Easter interview.

“So decision making, what you could call the wheels of power, should be shared by women. That is essential”, the prelate explained, even though he also showed himself reluctant, at least at the moment, to embrace women deacons and priests.

Hollerich went on to reiterate that “[the] baptism of a woman is as valid as the baptism of a man, and God has the same love for a woman as for a man”.

For that reason, “mentalities have to change” in the Church, the Archbishop of Luxembourg persisted.

In Catholicism, he went on, “I think we have to put everything in the way so that women can fully participate in decision making. And when we are on that way, then we also can discuss the topic of priesthood”.

– “Celibacy is not a command of divine law”

Also in his interview with RTL, Cardinal Hollerich referred to the other Church talking point of married male priests, and recalled that there has been a married clergy at other points in Church history.

“So, that priests live in celibacy is not a command of divine law”, the Luxembourg archbishop explained.

“It’s not the wish of God. It has become the custom of the Church. And for a long time the Church did very well with this custom”.

As with any custom though, there comes a time in which to re-evaluate its reason and purpose.

“I think from time to time you have to assess reality. And many people demand, or are asking, for priests [to be] able to marry. So let’s discuss it in the Church”, Cardinal Hollerich urged.

– Light a candle at the window for Covid-19 sufferers, end to nationalism in EU

In the meantime, in his capacity of COMECE President and alongside Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the President of the Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe, Cardinal Hollerich has invited all Catholics to spread a message of hope by lighting a candle at their window on Easter eve.

“It is a small but significant and symbolic message of hope in this historical and dramatic moment in which millions of people in Europe and the rest of world are affected by much sufferance and uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic”, said the two leaders of the Catholic Church in Europe.

This initiative also aims at reinforcing the sense of community in the EU and all European countries. The current context of fear leads us to be wary of the other, who is perceived as a potential danger.

“More than ever, we must cultivate the furrows of brotherhood: it is together and united that we will overcome this scourge”, the two cardinals insisted.

Already on 12 March 2020, when the World Health Organisation (WHO) officially declared the outbreak of coronavirus a pandemic, the two Church leaders raised a common prayer to God for help, comfort and salvation.

On that occasion, the two Cardinals joined Pope Francis in reiterating the closeness of the Church to all those struggling due to the pandemic: the victims, their families and all healthcare workers, volunteers and faithful who are in the frontline, caring for those affected and bringing them relief.

(With information from COMECE)

Next on Novena:

Pope “takes up challenge” of more women’s rights in Church, creates new commission to study female deacons

European Bishops pray for deliverance from coronavirus as continental Churches increase precautions… with exceptions

Cardinal Hollerich denounces EU coronavirus discord: “The politicians are falling short”

“We must not close our hearts”: Cardinal Hollerich appeals to Europe to help countries most affected by COVID-19

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Cardinal Hollerich rips Europe on inaction for Med migrants: “We must be fiercely ashamed”


Progressive Catholic journalist, author and educator. Working on social justice, equality and Church renewal.