Catholic voices in Germany and Austria are crying out for more power for women in Church, saying “It only needs one bishop who says: ‘I’ll do it'”.
– German female theologian: “Women are willing and able to take full responsibility in the Church”
In Germany, the vice-president of the German Association of Catholic Women (KFD), the theologian Agnes Wuckelt, last week promised concrete progress for women as a result of the German Church’s two-year ‘synodal path’ reform process, according to comments reported by Kirche + Leben.
“It only needs a bishop who says: ‘I’ll do it'”, Wuckelt observed, with regards to the abundance of Church leadership tasks currently denied women but theoretically possible for them to perform even under current Church law, such as the leadership of parishes, diocesan administrations or other Church institutions, through to the involvement in baptisms, marriages, the blessing of the sick and funeral services.
Wuckelt – a member of the general assembly and the women’s forum of the synodal path – said it would “strengthen the credibility of the Church” were Catholic women to be given greater decision-making powers.
“It’s not the access of women to Church offices and ministries that has to be justified, but rather their exclusion” from them, the theologian claimed, warning that Catholic women’s patience is coming to an end and now boiling over into protests for their equal dignity in Germany and beyond.
“Women are willing and able to take full responsibility in the Church… God also works through women”, Wuckelt recalled.
– Male theologian: “Women have an inalienable dignity that permits no difference in rank”
Also in Germany, theologian Herbert Haslinger last week insisted in the Paderborn archdiocesan newspaper Der Dom that “it should be possible for women to be ordained because, from God, they have an unconditional, inalienable dignity that does not allow any relativisations or differences in rank” from men.
Haslinger also affirmed, on the question of compulsory priestly celibacy, that “it should be possible for ordained ministers to live their sexuality, because sexuality is something valuable”.
Those two battles- the ordination of women and married priests – were fronts theologian Haslinger criticised Pope Francis on, for not opening the door to both possibilities in his post-Amazon Synod exhortation Querida Amazonia.
– Director of Austrian Caritas comes out in support of female diaconate
In Austria, meanwhile, the director of the national Caritas Michael Landau called precisely for the reintroduction of the female diaconate.
“There was a women’s diaconate in the early Church. I think that would also be good for today’s Church”, Landau said in a newspaper interview.
On the question of the possible return to a married priesthood, Landau also recalled: “Compulsory celibacy in the Church was introduced at one moment in history and can be abolished in the same way”.
The issue of equal rights for women in the Church is one that has been picking up steam in recent weeks and months, particularly in the context of International Women’s Day last March 8.
On that day, the Catholic Women’s Council called on Church groups around the world to join them in the fight for women’s “dignity and equality” in Catholicism.
Also this last week, another Catholic women’s rights group – the Women’s Ordination Conference – called female Catholics to a global Church strike, as part of a push “to remove all barriers to ministry and governance for women” in the Church, among other goals.