Skip to main content

German Archbishop calls for women deacons, Communion for divorced Catholics, and on and on

From The Local:

Photo:DPA

Women Catholic deacons 'no longer taboo'

Germany's top Roman Catholic has called for women to be allowed to become deacons, which would enable them to perform baptisms and marriages outside of mass - a novelty for Catholic women. 

Archbishop of Freiburg Robert Zollitsch, who chairs the German Bishops' Conference, called for the change at the end of a four-day meeting to discuss possible reforms. 

The conference, the first of its kind, invited 300 Roman Catholic experts to propose reforms. Zollitsch's comments echo year-long calls from the Central Committee of German Catholics to permit women to become deacons. On Sunday, Zollitsch said that aim was no longer a 'taboo.'

Zollitsch said the Catholic Church could only regain credibility and strength by committing to reform. He described an "atmosphere of openness and freedom" at the conference. ...

Another proposal to emerge from the conference was to extend the rights of remarried divorcees to sit on church bodies such as parish councils. Conference members also discussed the possibility of granting them the right to receive Holy Communion and attend confession. ...

The position of divorcees remains highly controversial within the Church.  The conference also touched on the difficulty, particularly in eastern Germany, of recruiting people to work for Catholic institutions such as hospitals and kindergarten. At present the Church can only employ Roman Catholics. However Zollitsch called for work permits to be extended to non-Catholics and to those with "different lifestyles." This would technically apply to homosexual people too. However Church labour reforms are unlikely to be introduced in the next three years. ...