Germany Catholic Church? Women in power – men in the second row”, “Women in leadership in church”, “Macht.Frau.Religion”, “Pope Joan”. And: “Rainbow family as a place of life

Posted on May 25, 2022


“Women in power – men in the second row”, “Women in leadership in church”, “Macht.Frau.Religion”, “Pope Joan”. And: “Rainbow family as a place of life

BERLIN taz | “Women in power – men in the second row”, “Women in leadership in church”, “Macht.Frau.Religion”, “Pope Joan”. And: “Rainbow family as a place of life”, “‘OutInChurch’ – for a church without fear”, “Jesus loves trans”: These are the titles of some discussions and events at the Catholic Day in Stuttgart 2022. Wait a minute: women in power and church without Fear? What’s going on with the Catholics?

Something is happening in the Catholic Church, as evidenced by the program of the 102nd Catholic Day from May 25th to 29th, 2022. Much less and much more slowly than the reform Catholics would like. But in the 21st century the Church should no longer remain so rigid, so male-centric, so exclusionary as before.

Especially not when the world around them is changing and society is calling for more equality: women in management positions, fathers at the changing tables, equal pay for the same jobs, recognition of queer people, equal rights for families who don’t have a father, mother, child(ren) exist.

Over 200,000 resignations in 2020 alone

Now the Catholic Church could largely be indifferent to the demands of society, after all the institution has its own cosmos with its own rules and its own pace, which has grown out of more than 2000 years of history. But if more and more believers are leaving the church – over 221,000 people in 2020 alone – and justify this with karst structures, contempt for human beings and the exclusion of those who are different, the church will probably have no choice but to move.

The impetus for change came in 2010 with a scandal that has haunted the Catholic Church ever since: Thousands of sexual violence against children and young people in the care of Catholic institutions became known, public and finally an issue.

Since Father Klaus Mertes ( see our interview here ), then rector of the Canisius College in Berlin, who made cases of abuse at his school public and thus started the ball rolling for change, the church is not only obliged to process the cases, but also to change in such a way that abuse of power in the church no longer has a chance.

At this point, however, the Church cannot ignore women. It is above all women who stimulate the church modernization process, church structures live mostly from female employees and volunteers: in daycare centers, communities, advice centers, charitable institutions. The Church is one of the largest employers in the country. However, women are mainly employed and active at the grassroots level, i.e. beyond institutional power. This is exactly what women no longer tolerate, they want influence and participation in decision-making.

Contrast to the serving and silent woman

It was a matter of time before an initiative like Maria 2.0 was founded. Exactly three years ago, Catholic women took to the streets in a week of action in Münster and demanded that sexualized violence be dealt with, that women be appointed to the priesthood, and that homosexual life plans be recognized. 2.0 is the opposite of Maria 1.0 as the ideal image of the serving and silent woman and stands for a new beginning: set everything to zero! At least that’s how Lisa Kotter, the initiator of Maria 2.0, put it.

A year ago, 150 Catholic women wrote down their desire to become a priestess in a book entitled: “Silence was yesterday: Maria 2.0 – The uprising of women in the Catholic Church”. A lively plea for a new beginning.

The women are pushing for the priesthood to finally be open to women, and one even writes to the Pope. Some men support this, including Johannes Eckert, Benedictine abbot of Sankt Bonifaz in Munich. On Deutschlandfunk last summer, he made a clear plea for women to be ordained priests, saying that this was “absolutely desirable”. And when is it coming? Eckert says: “Maybe in the near future.”

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