BONN (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Catholic women's group in Germany is demanding "full equality" in Church leadership and administration, including a female priesthood.
Following on the Amazon Synod and subsequent statements made by German bishops, the Catholic Women's Association of Germany (KFD) is says, "There is an urgent need to change the structure of the Church," according to Vice President Agnes Wuckelt. "One key issue is women’s participation in leadership at all levels of the Church."
Wuckelt says her association is pushing for women's ordination to the priesthood but will settle, temporarily, for the diaconate. She knows the German bishops cannot act on such changes on their own, so to get the ball rolling she and her association are calling for the synodal German bishops to officially petition Rome for women's ordination.
"If that [petition] does not happen, in our eyes definitely a red line would be crossed," she warned.
For now, she and her association of women are demanding half of all leadership positions in the Church be filled by women: "[W]e demand 50%."
Building on the widespread sexual abuse scandal in the Church, Wuckelt speaks of the "spiritual abuse" of women in general.
"In addition, spiritual abuse has made women feel small and inferior in the Church ... . [T]here is still much work to be done in this area," she claimed.
German bishops are now on their final preparations for their "synodal path" plenary meeting for Jan. 30–Feb 1. Matthias Kopp, episcopate spokesman, said, "Our bishops' conference verified the issues — authority, participation, the separation of powers, sexual morality, the priestly form of life, women in church services and orders — and wishes to face these issues, especially because a vast number of believers await this."
The Germans are not alone in their push for women priests. A Washington, D.C.-based women's group, the Women's Ordination Conference, has been in existence since 1975, advocating for the ordination of women despite official magisterial teaching.
In response to all the chatter that the Church may potentially ordain women priestesses, Pope St. John Paul II wrote a landmark letter to the Church in 1994, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, where he authoritatively shuts the door on the possibility:
Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.
According to Catholic teaching, when a doctrine on faith or morals is spoken "definitively," it is infallibly defined by the ordinary Magisterium of the Catholic Church, to which the faithful are obliged to give their religious submission of mind and will, per the teachings in Lumen Gentium, ad Tuendam Fidem, Mysterium Ecclesiae and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Christ chose only men to fulfill the sacrament of holy orders, and this tradition has been preserved for 2,000 years. Theologians claim there are compelling philosophical arguments relating to the nature of male and female human beings in relation to God that underscore why the Church cannot ordain women.
Catholic historians have also observed that the movement to ordain women picked up steam in the United States after the popularization of the birth control pill and legalization of abortion. Once the Western world began its sterilizing practices in women en masse, talk of women priestesses gained momentum. As fertility rates plummeted, the argument goes, women began losing sight of their inherent feminine identity and dignity.
According to Pope Pius XI in Casti Connubii, when the heart (represented by the woman) loses its function and identity of nurturer and life-giver to the body, it tends to gravitate toward seeking headship in order to fill the void of meaning. A recent New York Times survey seems to bear this out, indicating that "religious conservatives" are the happiest of all American wives.
While recognizing the dignity of women as co-equal images of God to men (Genesis 1:26–27), the Catholic Church teaches that women can never be ordained to the priesthood — regardless of the clamor of radical feminists or German bishops.