For the first time on Tuesday, German Catholic bishops elected a woman as general secretary and was welcomed as a “strong sign” of the modernization of the crisis-stricken church.
Theologian Beate Gilles, 50, will replace Hans Langendorfer on July 1 as a senior official responsible for implementing the decisions made by the bishops.
“This is a strong indication that the bishops are acting on an agreement to promote women to leadership positions,” said Georg Betzing, chair of the Episcopal Conference.
Langendoerfer will retire in this position after 24 years.
This week, a council of 68 bishops is meeting through a video conference at a virtual spring council that casts a shadow over the controversial scandal over Cardinal Cologne Reiner Maria Wölki.
A powerful archbishop, Woelki, has blocked the publication of reports of alleged sexual abuse of minors by members of Germany’s largest parish.
His decision caused a fierce reaction from the victims and a growing criticism from inside and outside the church.
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