The German Church women’s rights movement ‘Maria 2.0’ is still striving for “equality and renewal”, a member of the group has said.

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“The Church should have a human face again and it should follow the logic of the Gospel”, Maria 2.0 member Maria Mesrian told Domradio after a meeting of the Catholic gender equality group in the Archdiocese of Cologne at the weekend.

“Gospel logic means justice and mercy as the DNA of the Gospel”, Mesrian explained.

“We want a Church that doesn’t exclude anyone, but invites everyone who sincerely asks about God”.

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‘Maria 2.0’ was founded in Münster a year ago with the aim, among other things, of working towards the ordination of women, the abolition of compulsory clerical celibacy and the clarification of all cases of sex abuses in the Church.

The movement gained international prominence in May, when it called for a German-wide “Church strike” for women and encouraged them to refrain for a week from attending official services and volunteering in churches.

Since then the momentum hasn’t stopped, though, with Maria 2.0 organising other demonstrations for equal rights for women in the Church such as a human chain around Cologne Cathedral in September.

Why it matters

Mesrian explained that even though the women of the movement are still “stunned” by the ongoing fallout from the abuse crisis, they haven’t lost hope.

“We are dynamic and forward-thinking because we know that we can change something”, Mesrian said.

“We are free and independent and we inspire many people who find their way back to the community after many years.

“For me personally this is the best thing when women come to me… and say that they have not been in the church for 20 years and have found a home again through Maria 2.0. This is evangelisation in the best sense”, she celebrated.

What’s next

Although the German Church as a whole is currently organising its own reform push – including around the issue of women’s roles in the Church – with the process known as the ‘synodal path’, the women of Maria 2.0 have chosen to stay on the sidelines of that, preferring to accompany the path in prayer.

To that end, to accompany the first synodal assembly January 31-February 1 in Frankfurt, Maria 2.0 has organised a prayer vigil in the cathedral with other Catholic women’s groups and reform movements.

That’s on top of more protests the group is planning on March 8, International Women’s Day, and again in a week in May, on the first anniversary of the Catholic women’s “Church strike”.

On the topic specifically of the ‘synodal path’, though, Mesrian pleaded for critics – and they reach all the way to the Vatican – to give the reform process “a chance”.

“It is the beginning of a discussion that hasn’t been had for far too long. And there different positions will be expressed”, Mesrian recalled.

“The important thing for me is that we always keep in mind that God is greater and that the questions that we have can only point to that”, she continued.

“We point to Christ. We are not Christ, we can only point to him and what he exemplified for us. For me that is the Gospel and for me that is the logic of why I am committed”.

Next on Novena:

‘Maria 2.0’ spokeswoman: On women’s involvement in the Church, “it’s clear to everyone that the system as it is now cannot be maintained”

German Church ‘synodal path’ struggles to live up to deep reform hopes of laypeople, women

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