Members of the Catholic women's organisation SKF in Switzerland

Swiss Catholic women plan Church “laboratory”, “financial pressure” in push for equality

Swiss Catholic women are planning to bring “financial pressure” to bear on the official Catholic Church in a push for more power for female faithful.

Driving the news

Last month, unions, parties and associations in Switzerland called a national women’s strike to push for equal rights, equal pay and better reconciliation of work and family life.

The Swiss Catholic Women’s Federation (SKF) participated in the strike, calling for more equality for women in the institutional Church.

What’s next

SKF vice-chairwoman Vroni Peterhans said last week in an interview with the magazine Horizonte said that the members of her organisation plan to “stick to it and carry on” after the strike: “that’s what we owe our base”.

Peterhans revealed that the SKF plans to establish a “testing laboratory” for equality in the Diocese of Basel where women could perhaps be ordained as deacons and where, at any rate, new leadership roles in pastoral care will be created.

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For the record

The “old structures” in the Church “are no longer up to date”, lamented Peterhans.

There are “able, charismatic women and men” in church communities who are banned from leading in their local churches “because they do not fulfill the restrictive rules of the Catholic Church”, Peterhans added. She explained that these local leaders “would be closer to the people in the place than a priest who comes from India or Africa”.

Why it matters

The SKF represents a total of 130,000 Catholic women in Switzerland, a sizeable portion of that country’s Catholic population.

Peterhans said the SKF is looking, too, at “joining forces” with other Catholic women’s equal rights movements in other countries such as the ‘Maria 2.0’ movement in Germany.

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