Between the protests and Resignation – The Catholic Church and the women


At their spring General Assembly in Lingen, deep in the North-Western German province, want to show the German bishops that preceded it in the position of women in the Church. Lingen, Christoph Strack.

On Tuesday afternoon, Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, comes with two women to the press conference. The three digits Numbers from the years 2013 and 2018. Really impressive the development is not. In 2013, the proportion of women on the top Executive level nationwide, with 13 percent. Five years later, at 19. This is not, says Bode, “far from satisfactory”.

Andrea agony brink from the diocese of Essen, who wrote on the topic of women in positions of Church leadership your PhD thesis, called the obstacles to the advancement of women in the first place, “the occupation of management functions with clerics”. The Express will of the respective diocesan leadership was “of crucial importance for the increase in the share of Women”.

Armed to the consecration

In the discussions it is not officially, even to questions of the Church’s ordination of women – but Bode can be seen on demand on the topic of “ordination of deaconesses”. Many of the women were long “social and diaconal activities, which should reflect also sacramentally”. The Bishop promotes the diaconate of women, the many at the base, and also by some theologians for a long time. And “even if there are strong determinations of a dogmatic nature”, but today, the “question of women in ecclesiastical Offices in General”.

Now Bishop Bode is almost something like a single fighter in the Church in Germany. A number of bishops, shares his analysis when he speaks of a dramatic “loss of confidence and a credibility crisis”. But the specification in the case of sensitive questions, with currently only a single loud.

“Power of light!”

The night before: The opening service of the Episcopal Assembly in the Lingener main Church comes to an end. Behind many Acolytes 65 bishops through the center aisle of the Church to the main portal, into the uncomfortable cold night.

Almost: the German bishops in the Church

Is waiting for you outside the flickering light of hundreds of flashlights – a Demonstration. “Power of light! Makes light!” contrary to echoes it to the shepherds. Of the 300 women received the statement of the bishops. It Catholic are of different generations, members of the Catholic woman community of Germany (kfd). For some, it might be the first Demo of your life.

“The bishops did measure”

“I don’t want to put a sign that abuse is absolutely,” said protester Renate Dombert. “It is always just talk. But to be bishops, their deeds are measured, not words.” And in the next sentence, the Lingener kfd-member of the diaconate of women, is overdue calls, “a very important story.” And it also refers to the obligation of the priests to celibacy, you need to talk.

Three of the bishops, including Bode, enjoy the women. On you boxes waiting with almost 30,000 post-cards. Members of the kfd, the largest women’s Association in Germany, demand that in order for reforms. In the crush of the kfd-Federal Chairman Mechthild Heil reports. “It is our children and grandchildren that we have entrusted to them,” she says on the subject of abuse. A set that goes under the skin.

“Then it’s too late”

And healing stresses the receivables to the bishops: comprehensive investigation of the abuse scandal, a “responsible and liberating approach to one’s body and sexuality” in the Church’s education and community work, a “structural renewal of the Church” without the clerical-authoritarian power structures. The tough increase to 19 per cent women in Executive offices and fits exactly.

Sub-critics: German bishops outside the Church

If the Protest takes place in the case of the bishops? Renate Dombert doubts and describes later, the glances of some of the bishops. “I don’t know if we will be taken seriously.” But the Church is no longer something that “a lot of time. And if the women break, then it is too late.”

The call for Church strike

The Protest against the bishops in Lingen was for some of the women only a stage. For the middle of may, a Catholic call from Münster to the week-long “Church strike” and want to protest against the exclusion of women in the Church. The house of God not to enter, not in the sacristy to help, not cleaning, possibly together, in front of the Church to pray.

The idea of the “Church strike” under the Motto “Maria 2.0” was created in January Locally in the münster community. Meanwhile, Lisa Koetter, which instigated the action gets inquiries from Austria and Switzerland.

The protesters carry their demands in front of

As the initiator, says the freelance artist Kötter, could you help with materials and ideas. But then it’ll be on every single Catholic, says Deutsche Welle. And some of the question quite anxiously: “What our Pastor says, if I place myself on the forecourt of the Church, and then there’s my our father pray?” Kötter know of a Church staff informed the Church strike call on their Facebook page and then from the chief of staff of your diocese to the interview convened.

At the least, encouragement of associations Kötter gets now. The kfd and the second major Catholic women’s Association, the Catholic German women’s Federation (KDFB), encourage its members, the “Church strike” from the 11. to 18. To support may.