German Catholic women are protesting for equal rights in Church, insisting that “bringing the Word of God to the people is not a task reserved for men alone”.
– “We will not stop putting our fingers in the wounds of the sinister structures of our Church”
The Catholic women’s rights movement ‘Maria 2.0’, along with the Catholic Women’s Association of Germany (kfd) and the German Catholic Women’s Association (KDFB), began this Saturday in different places around the country eight days of lectures, prayers and discussion evenings for a gender-equal Church.
In Münster, the Catholic gender justice activists invited women and men to the square in front of the cathedral for a group “Eucharist” Sunday celebrated by the people themselves, on their own card tables brought from home, without a consecration by any priests.
That was with the goal of showing metaphorically where women still are in the Church: “outside”.
The doors in the Church still slammed in women’s faces are those “behind which decisions are made, the course is set, communal coexistence is defined [and] leadership tasks are assigned, entrusted and discussed”, Maria 2.0 denounced in a press release, promising: “We will not stop putting our fingers in the wounds of the sinister structures of our Church”.
Over and above what happens in institutional Catholic circles, “we will change the Church by finally understanding our actions as equally significant”, the women’s rights activists insisted, defending their communal Eucharist by explaining: “We celebrate fraternally in His name. No one stands in front. HE is in our midst”.
“We break and share bread, one for the other. We drink wine/juice and bless ourselves, one for the other”, they continued, adding: “We eat and drink and do so in gratitude and solidarity with our brother Jesus and with each other. At the table that we have built together. Where everyone is welcome”.
– “For decades” Catholic women have had “a lot of stamina” but patience is running out
Another centre of the Maria 2.0-kfd-KDFB week of protests for women’s equality in the Church is Cologne, where the organisations held another common “Eucharist” outside the cathedral on Sunday.
The program for the Catholic women’s rights week in Cologne “was designed to say: we are open, we are inviting. We are on a common path”, Ute Hücker of the KDFB told Domradio in an interview September 19.
Hücker said it was “no coincidence” that the women’s action week is taking place parallel to the autumn plenary assembly of the German Bishops’ Conference from September 22-24 in Fulda.
The KDFB representative said the women’s rights groups would like to draw the bishops’ attention “to the fact that there are women who still stand outside… who would like to be in the Church”.
“Equal rights” and “equal duties” is what German Catholic women are campaigning for this week, Hücker explained, highlighting that Catholic women have “the same dignity” as men and also feel the same vocations that men do, but which they are limited to carrying out in non-ordained pastoral, spiritual and service roles.
Hücker stressed that proclaiming the Word “is not a task that is reserved for men alone”.
“Mary Magdalene, the first witness of faith to receive a commission [to spread the Good News] testifies to this: ‘Go to the disciples and tell them about my resurrection'” (Mk 16:7)
Though there is still a lot of resistance to the ordination of women – including from Cologne cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki – Hücker insisted that “for decades” Catholic women have had “a lot of stamina” with regard to fighting for their rights.
But “it won’t just be the young women; there will also be a great many older women” who will leave the Church if there is no movement on the women’s rights front in the near future, Hücker warned.