“Women religious for human dignity” encourage reformers

Synodical path: rocky or bogged down? © PUWADON SANG (shutterstock)

The "Women Religious for Human Dignity" have encouraged reformers in the Catholic Church to advocate for change as part of the Synodal Way project. They find: A reform backlog affects the future of the church.

This process can and must – for the sake of God and mankind – be a success, says a paper of the movement published in Munich on Sunday. Should the path lose the will to renew, "it would be a fatal sign for our church as well as for society. This must not happen."

In the Synodal Way, German bishops and lay representatives have been discussing the future of the Catholic Church since 2019. The starting point is a church crisis that has lasted for years and that has been exacerbated by the abuse scandal. The debate focuses on power, priesthood and sexual morality, as well as the role of women in the church.

Empowering women

Delays and small "repairs" are no longer sufficient; instead, binding decisions are needed. Regarding women's ies, the statement said, "The fact that a female undersecretary in the Vatican is given voting rights at a synod of bishops or that the German bishops, under public prere, appoint a woman as secretary general is a long overdue but still tiny step in the right direction."

The sisters still doubt that churchmen know "what we are called to do and what we are not called to do. That is why it is urgently necessary to redefine ministries that have so far been assigned to women and offices that have so far been the responsibility of men only. This presupposes that the assignment of general and special priesthood is rethought, that violence is shared and that offices are exercised in a gender-just manner. This includes a solid separation of sacramental authority and leadership power.

The crisis of the church due to the abuse cases is homemade and not caused by the "evil world," the statement says. It was not brought in from the outside, but caused by structures that misused power and thus encouraged abuse. This history of guilt must be looked at, even if this is not easy. One problem is the lack of consciousness of injustice of "some (or many) perpetrators".

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