Superiors of 34 Women’s Orders Call for Admission of Women to All Church Offices

As Kirche Leben Netz reports, the superiors of 34 women’s orders in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Luxembourg are calling for the admission of women to all church ministries and offices.

This declaration was made by the German-speaking members of the worldwide UISG – Internationale Vereinigung der Generaloberinnen / International Union of Superiors General – on Wednesday in Innsbruck.

The sisters call for a new “culture of dialogue, of participation, and of gender equality.” Increasing the proportion of qualified women would contribute to diversity and enrichment at all levels, they say. They note that religious communities could offer examples of “how men and women have worked and do work in brotherly and sisterly collaboration as a rich blessing for people.”

The UISG consists of 2,000 representatives of apostolic women’s communities worldwide with more than 900,000 members. It was at their initiative in 2016 that Pope Francis established a commission on women deacons.






8 responses to “Superiors of 34 Women’s Orders Call for Admission of Women to All Church Offices”

  1. Phyllis Zagano Avatar
    Phyllis Zagano

    It makes ultimate sense to restore the tradition of abbesses and abbots as the equivalent of bishops–the representation of USG with 10 votes and UISG with seven auditors and no votes is a break with an older tradition.

    1. Scilla Stack Avatar
      Scilla Stack

      To be honest, demoting bishops seems the intent because they have globally shown their inability ti carry the burden of justly and responsibly managing the affairs (sic) of the global church. Maybe they should not be carrying the entire burden, with the complexity of acknowledging we Catholics are ALL responsible for the carrying out of Christ’s mission, if the New Evangelisation has come to mean lay and religious taking on more of church administration as well as a greater role for the church faithful in doctrinal decisions them well and good. The particularity of what the new looks like is still in process but what is obvious is the need for change. Thank you Pope Fracis for beginning the process so that it is no longer heretical or schismatic to say so, no to shout that this is so! After all, it change was reflected in the documents of Vatican 11 that the bishops of the world have very selectively implemented. or not implemented.

    2. David L Alexander Avatar

      The medieval practice of abbots and abbesses in the role of “bishops” was limited primarily to the administrative role.

      Priests and deacons may have been under the obedience of either, but abbesses could not receive Holy Orders. Both would have possessed the crozier (abbatial staff), the ring, and the mitre, but an abbess would never have worn the mitre, having taken the veil, opting instead for its being carried ahead of her in procession on a pillow. With the rise of nation-states in the Renaissance, the jurisdictional role of the abbey died out in favor of that of geographic territory, and although mitred abbots continued as a practice, mitred abbesses (among them Brigid of Kildare and Hildegard of Bingen) virtually disappeared.

      At present, however, there are two mitred abbesses in the United States; one at Regina Laudis in Connecticut, the other at St Walburga in Colorado.

  2. Marion Boden Avatar
    Marion Boden

    Bravo USG!!!

  3. charles jordan Avatar
    charles jordan

    View from the Pew:
    Regarding: “As Kirche Leben Netz reports, the superiors of 34 women’s orders in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Luxembourg are calling for the admission of women to all church ministries and offices.”
    – A great leap forward from the nexus of Piux xii and Mother Pascalina Lehnert who later became Pius’ director of his personal charity.

    – Pascalina and her two sister companions were the only women in the conclave of March 1939. It was at this conclave that Pacelli was elected Archbishop of Rome on March 2.

    1. Patrick Freese Avatar
      Patrick Freese

      I can’t find any record that says religious women participated in the conclave of 1939. Perhaps you know something the rest of us don’t? In any case, even if they did attend (perhaps as staff of the papal household, which is common), they almost certainly didn’t vote, per the 1904 apostolic constitution “Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis” which was in effect at the time.

  4. Richard Ashton Avatar
    Richard Ashton

    The Church loses her identity to the extent that she follows rather than guides contemporary mores.

    1. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
      Anthony Ruff, OSB

      In principle, I agree. I recall Fr. Aidan Kavanagh OSB saying that we should adapt culture to liturgy, not the reverse.

      But I don’t hold to my principle absolutely and in a black-and-white way. I support Vatican II’s call for dialogue with the modern world, and its vision of a church that both confidently has the message and teachings of Christ and is on a journey to attain fuller truth. Sometimes the church learns from contemporary mores. For example, liberals and secular-leaning free thinkers in the 16th – 18th century thought that witches should not be burned, heretics should not be killed, there should be freedom of religion and freedom of worship. They were right, and the churches slowly had to come around to their truth, and see in it something that is (or should be) part of our Christian understanding. Other examples could be named.


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