A self-proclaimed “conservative” Roman Catholic cleric in Germany has signaled openness to the ordination of women priests in the worldwide faith.
In a wide-ranging interview with the German magazine Herder Korrespondenz, Limburg Bishop Georg Bätzing referred to himself as a “conservative” but cast doubt on theological claims supporting the Roman Catholic Church’s male-only priesthood.
“I must honestly say that I am also aware that these arguments are becoming less and less convincing and that there are well-developed arguments in theology in favor of opening up the sacramental ministry to women as well,” said Bishop Bätzing, who leads the German bishops’ conference.
The comments were first reported by German Catholic news agency KNA.
The Catholic Church does not ordinate women as priests. In 1998, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops noted the “[t]he Church cannot consider the claim of a woman” as “participation in Christ’s role as head of the Church is reserved to men.”
Earlier this year, Pope Francis deflected a proposal for women deacons — and married men — to serve as clerics in order to shore up the lack of clergy in vast, remote regions of the Amazon.
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