German-speaking Catholic women are pressing in a new alliance for the urgent reform of “violent” Church structures.

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Laywomen and nuns from Catholic women’s associations, initiatives, religious orders and other Church organisations in Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland came together in Stuttgart last weekend for a meeting organised by the movement Voices of Faith.

That was in view of organising a new network to tackle what they called the “catastrophic” Church crisis, which they said begs “urgently needed reforms”.


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The new German-speaking Catholic women’s network said they agreed with former nun and clerical sex abuse victim Doris Wagner’s diagnosis that “something is fundamentally flawed in our Church”.

“More and more women are upset about the systematic exclusion from leadership and decision-making positions in the Church”, Wagner told a recent meeting of women in Rome pushing for votes for women in bishops’ synods.

But “what is worse than the exclusion is the way in which that exclusion is justified and enforced, despite an impressive range of really convincing arguments to be made infavour of leadership positions for women in the Church”, Wagner denounced on that occasion.

“There’s a very obvious link between the accumulation of power and the abuse of power anywhere, in any nation or institution or mentality which refuses to share power equally between men and women, between people of various races, countries and spiritual backgrounds”, Wagner said.

“It’s not only contrary to our faith and the dignity of the children of God. It’s also doomed to be powerless, insecure and regressive, for it finds itself caught up in a constant battle against its own people”.

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Why it matters

The new German-speaking Catholic women’s group said it agreed with Wagner’s call that women need to stop supporting “violent” Church structures.

The network called for the immediate incorporation of greater involvement for women in the Church, to stop the abuse of both wounded and vulnerable people and of Creation itself.

“We women no longer have time to wait.

“We stand up together and do our utmost to ensure that the Church has a future: life-friendly and women-friendly.

“We call on all women: Use your positive power for change!”, said Chantal Götz, Managing Director of Voices of Faith.

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What’s next

In its meeting in Stuttgart, the new network identified key “internal church blockages” the Church needs to reform.

Those issues included sacramental theology, Church power and authority, criteria and transparency in episcopal ordinations and appointments, the symbolic order and the care of vulnerable people.

The new group also invited other Catholic women’s associations around the world to join them for a meeting at the global level.

In the meantime, they encouraged their Catholic sisters and other people of good will “to courageously work for an equal and just Church”.