Friday, June 22, 2012

Roman Catholic Women Priests Celebrate 10th Anniversary in Mannheim, Germany at "Alternative Katholikentag"

Ordination of Danube 7, photo from Ida Raming, a theologian , who was ordained  with six other women on the Danube River between Austria and Germany on June 29, 2002. Read story in Women Find a Way. (
Ida, Gisela, Regina, Irmingard and Morag went to the Katholikentag in Mannheim from 16th to 19th May.
Ida arranged for us to have a stall in one of the venues of the AlternativeKatholikentag, which was organised by "We Are Church." Regina got permission for us to have a space on the pavement (beside a number of outside stalls for Catholic charities working in the Third World) for our display and we performed the street theatre round the corner beside the tram stops! Regina produced an excellent RCWP leaflet and had 1,000 copies printed. She has also created the new website. Irmingard wrote an excellent play called "The Dream of Papa Bene" for our street theatre and Gisela made the wonderful costumes and the brilliant display. You can see photos of all this on our new website: Click on Aktionen, then click on Katholiketag 2012 and they will appear. We spent most of our time with our outside display and performed the play 3 times. A number of people came to speak to us and we gave out lots of leaflets, about 800! People even came and lifted leaflets of their own volition! Gisela, who has been to several Katholikentags, said that she noticed a big change in peoples' attitudes to us this year. People were very interested in us and they were all very positive about RCWP.
Ida gave a talk followed by discussion in the small venue of the AlternativeKatholikentag about "Women and Church a hot spot at Vatican II and today." This venue was full and nearly everyone was very supportive. It went very well. We also showed "Pink Smoke Over the Vatican" a couple of times to small groups of people. It was extremely well received, but the problem was that it is in English and doesn't have German subtitles!
It was all very worthwhile.
Some of us went to the seminar of the German Catholic Womens' Organisation. Several emminent speakers talked about women in the Church and the leaders of this organisation are scheduled to have a meeting with the German bishops in November. The decision was made that they were to tell the bishops that they wanted all offices in the Church to be open to women. This event had a singer with a band. The final song, which everyone present stood up and sang, was: "Wenn nicht jetzt, wann dann?" = If not now, then when? The final word from the singer was, "I have been singing this song for 30 years!!!" I understand that German women are fed up waiting! One of the speakers had said that WOC in the USA are demanding the ordination of women to the priesthood NOW.
Some of us also went to a seminar in the AlternativeKatholikentag, where the main speaker was Fr Helmut Schuller of the Austrian Priests' Initiative. (The church was packed.) One of the things he said was that the Bishops, who were instructed to dialogue with them, told them that if they would drop the ordination of women to the priesthood from their list of demands, they would be willing to discuss everything else on their list with them. The Austrian Priests' Initiative refused to do this! Later on Fr Schuller commented, "Well, they can't excomunicate all 400 of us!!!"
Ida and Gisela were both interviwed by the press and TV. An article about them/RCWP appeared in a local paper and they also appeared in part of a German TV programme about the Katholikentag.  
Morag Liebert, rcwp, Scotland

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