Demand for the opening of ordained ministries

Central event for the "Day of the Deaconess" in Speyer

Speyer - Since 1998, the "Day of the Deaconess" has been celebrated in Germany on 29 April - even though there are no female deacons in the Catholic Church, only deacons. But that could change. There are prominent advocates.

Published  on 28.04.2024 at 13:13  – 

On Monday, Catholic women in Germany want to make their demands for reforms in the church heard on a massive scale. Representatives of several Catholic women's organisations and the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK) will give speeches in Speyer at the central event for the nationwide"Day of the Deaconess". The appeal to church leaders to open up all ministries and offices in the Catholic Church to women is likely to take centre stage. Until now, the ordained ministries of deacon and priest have been reserved for men.

This year, for the first time, the central event is called "Day of the Deaconess +plus" and has the motto "Allow the fullness!". The event will kick off with a service at 4.00 pm in Speyer Cathedral. Around 300 participants are expected to attend. The special feature: according to the organisers, the word service will be "led exclusively by women". The Catholic Women's Community of Germany (kfd), the Catholic German Women's Association (KDFB), the ZdK and the Network Diaconate of Women have invited participants.

Day of action since 1998

The nationwide "Day of the Deaconess" has existed since 1998 and is always held on 29 April, the day on which St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), who was elevated to the status of Doctor of the Church, is commemorated.

It is not only women's organisations that are in favour of opening up the diaconate to women. The chairman of the Catholic German Bishops' Conference, Georg Bätzing, said at the end of March that he would find it "wonderful" if he could ordain women as deacons. "I am of the opinion that it does not distort the nature of the church if women assume leadership, responsibility and decision-making in it on an equal footing with men," Bätzing said at the time in Bild am Sonntag.

The Catholic office of deacon, which is conferred by ordination, is one of the oldest in the Church. Deacons are allowed to baptise, marry, bury and preach, but are not allowed to preside at mass or hear confessions. (KNA)