Women’s access to all levels of Church ministry is not all “theologically possible” and “structurally desirable”, but also “mandatory” from a social justice perspective, the vice-president of the lay Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK) has claimed.

Driving the news

Claudia Lücking-Michel launched a powerful argument Tuesday in favour of women’s equality in the Church in an article published on the theology website Feinschwarz.net.

On the basis of the biblical evidence, historical precedent and sound theology, the arguments gainst women’s ordination can be torn down, the theologian and CDU (Christian Democratic Union) politician claimed.


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Lücking-Michel is a highly-respected figure in the German Church.

Not least of all because she’s leading, along with Bishop of Speyer Karl-Heinz Wiesemann, the German “synodal path” forum on power, participation and the separation of powers in the Church.

With regard to that synodal path reform process, Lücking-Michel said its success or failure will be measured by its answer to the “women’s question”.

It’s true that things “are going in the right direction” in the Church as women gradually come to exercise more and more responsibility, the ZdK vice-president admitted.

But there’s still too many men in leadership positions for which ordination is not strictly a prerequisite, she added.

Lücking-Michel said women were perfectly capable of exercising the non-ordained roles of heads of Church relief organisations or secretary of the Bishops’ Conference, “just to name a few examples”.

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Why it matters

The ZdK vice-president denounced those in the Church who dismiss women’s push for equality as a “struggle for power”.

She said the argument that power in the Church is exercised not for power’s sake but instead out of service is “hypocritical” and “difficult to bear”.

Especially when the already powerful use it to dismiss the demands of the “lowly”, like women.

Some in the Church are only ever offered power and others only service, Lücking-Michel lamented.

It’s not for lack of arguments that women’s demands for equality haven’t been met yet, but for lack of will, the theologian added.

She cited the fear of churchmen of a “restriction of their own power” as the real reason for the continued sexism in Catholicism.

But women, particularly in the context of the German synodal path, “bring a lot of strength and passion” to Church life, and are no longer willing just to “make the coffee and butter the sandwiches”, Lücking-Michel warned.

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What’s next

The Benedictine Sisters from Fahr Monastery, also from Germany, will be protesting today in St. Peter’s Square in Rome for greater visibility and responsibility for women in the Church.

The demonstration, featuring religious and other Catholic women from all over the world, has been organised by the reform group Voices of Faith.

“Women continue to be excluded from voting” at the Synod for the Amazon that starts Sunday in the Vatican, Voices of Faith denounced in a press release Wednesday.

“Why is no one talking about it? 

“The Catholic Church is one of the largest institutions in the world, yet at the head office level, women have no voting rights when it comes to major decisions that affect their communities and congregations”, Voices of Faith explained.

“How can this patriarchal church structure still be justified in the 21st century?”

Next on Novena:

Women demand “equality and inclusion” in Church, votes at synods


PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.