A German bishop has renewed his “urgent” plea for more women in the Church’s hierarchy, insisting that “female leadership is important and enriching”.

– “We urgently need to find solutions as to how equality can be implemented”

Archbishop of Paderborn Hans-Josef Becker made the new appeal in a video message July 28 on the occasion of the “Day of the Rural People” with the motto: “The country ahead – woman ahead”.

“As a Church, we need women in leadership positions”, Becker insisted, advocating for a larger proportion of women among holders of high office in the Church.

“As the Catholic Church, we urgently need to find solutions – whether globally uniform or with permitted differentiation – as to how equality can be implemented even more”, the Paderborn archbishop appealed.

– “The shared strengths of women and men are important building blocks for our society”

For Archbishop Becker, the duty to honour the capabilities and capacities of women is one of the lessons to be taken away from coronavirus crisis, which “show[ed] us that increased human interaction, the connection to nature and the shared strengths of women and men are important building blocks for our society”.

As proof of the unique skill sets women can bring to positions of power, the prelate cited the leadership style on display during the coronavirus crisis in countries such as Germany, Taiwan or New Zealand, all nations along with others in northern Europe which have female leaders.

Those female politicians were so “honest, open and empathetic” during the crisis that those qualities they displayed, coupled with their “energy” led some to ask whether women weren’t better than men at leading countries through crises, Becker recalled.

He added that those women leaders “were especially praised for not insisting on their authority, unlike some of their male colleagues, but for quickly recognising the seriousness of the situation and for taking swift action”.

“Having women at the that is certainly not the only reason why these countries have come through the crisis quite well so far, but the fact remains that the female leadership style is important and enriching for the well-being of our society”, the archbishop stressed, leaving it to the viewer’s imagination to picture how those ‘feminine’ leadership qualities could translate into Church life.

– June: On gender justice in the Church, “there is still room for improvement”

Becker’s plea for equal rights for women in the Church in his “Day of the Rural People” video represents the second time in just over a month that the archbishop has weighed in on the question of gender justice in Catholicism.

In an online ceremony June 9 to mark the end of this year’s edition of the mentoring program to women, ‘Women Rise’, that the German Bishops have been running for the past five years in a bid to help more females into management and administrative roles in the Church, Becker pledged “… to do everything we can to further increase the proportion of women in management positions, because there is still room for improvement”.

“Everyone in the Catholic Church must move” on the issue of gender justice, the archbishop added on that occasion in June, stressing that the current ecclesiastical culture of inequality must be done away with.

More on Novena on demands for equal rights for women in the Church:

France: 7 women ‘apostles’ claim place in male-only Catholic hierarchy: “The Church is in a deep crisis, and we need to open up its doors”

Nun speaks out for more leadership for women in Catholicism: “The Lord wants a change in the Church”

“Something must change”: Pallottine vice-provincial calls for women’s ordination, part-time married priests

Catholic Women’s Council launches website to demand equal rights and dignity for females in the Church


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