La Croix recently reported that women are assuming critical roles within multiple German diocese:
Fifteen years ago, Daniela Engelhard became the first woman to take overall responsibility for pastoral work in the Diocese of Osnabrück in north-west Germany. Today there are ten women holding similar positions in different German dioceses.
The German Bishops Conference (DBK) welcomed the fact that its target of 40% of women in posts as directors of pastoral work has been achieved, it said in a statement published on July 31.
At the moment, the 27 German dioceses now have a woman as the head of their pastoral work departments. The women are responsible for “multiple fields of pastoral work".
These include restructuring pastoral zones, accompanying couples and families but also emergency aid, migrant pastoral care as well as interreligious dialogue…
…Daniela Engelhard told La Croix that she strives to develop within the Church “new forms of more participative and community-based work” as well as “new ways of speaking about faith”. She believes in “turning our attention less towards the limitations than the opportunities".
Xavierian Sister Gudrun Steiss, who studied pastoral catechetics and interreligious dialogue at the Catholic Institute of Paris, is now director of pastoral work in Hamburg.
Her work priorities include studying “how administrative functions could better serve pastoral needs", improve “the culture of communication and decision making in the Diocese of Hamburg and in the German Church".
She also aims to turn “the relative wealth of the [German Church] into an opportunity".
Members of Bishops committees
All these women are also “members of the executive bodies of their dioceses and the bishops’ councils", the DBK said in its statement.
And “many of them also bring their theological and pastoral competence to one of the fourteen committees of the German Bishops Conference".
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