Friday, February 22, 2013

Cardinal supports female deacons

The German bishops discuss at their spring conference about how they can support greater participation of women in the Catholic Church. Cardinal Walter Kasper calls for a new diaconal ministry, women priests, he rejects, however.

Trier - At the spring meeting of the German Bishops' Conference, Cardinal Walter Kasper has proposed a new diaconal office for Women. He spoke of a parish deacon who takes on certain pastoral, charitable, catechetical and liturgical services. Such an office is different from the post of male deacon, said Kasper. The parish deacon will be commissioned by a blessing, not by a sacramental consecration.

"I think if there is such a position that is not simply attached to the classic office of deacon, would have a lot more flexibility," the retired cardinal said on Wednesday in Trier. The occasion was a study day in which the bishops discussed how they can support greater participation of women in the Catholic church.

They committed themselves to "increase significantly the proportion of women in leadership positions that do not require ordination to increase significantly," said Bishop Franz-Josef Bode. Currently, women occupy 13 percent of the top management positions in the Catholic Church. At the central level, this may be 19 percent. The figures show: "Women are still under-represented." After five years, the bishops wanted to examine how their intent had been implemented, said Bode.

Women in the priesthood were rejected by Kasper, "I think that this will not change the position that women can not be ordained to the priesthood." This was "the unbroken tradition of the Eastern Church as the Western Church." Women can however in all other parts of the church be active in volunteer and official roles. "Every German parish would collapse if the women did not work"

The Movement We are Church called on the sidelines of the Spring Plenary again for the priesthood for women. "The key positions in the church only come through priestly office," said their representative Annegret Laakmann . "We want to be priests, bishops and Popes." According to the movement, needs for more positions for women in the administration of the Church are not a matter for discussion. "It's a matter of course that women with the required qualifications get these positions," said Laakmann. The talks had been "a sop".

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