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Swiss Bishop Calls for Radical Reform, Women Priests.

Hard on the heels of the controversy over the dismissal of Australian Bishop Morris over some very cautious remarks he made years ago, on the need to consider ordaining women priests, comes this report of a Swiss bishop, who has gone much further. Instead of simply call for consideration of the idea, he is explicit – Bishop Markus Büchel of St. Gallen is explicit in his support for the ordination of women. To him, the search is not over the principle, but over the immediate steps that will get us there (possibly beginning with a women’s diaconate).

Also interesting to me, is that this call appears to have been only part of a much wider appeal for wide-ranging reform. Sadly, this report, which seems to be just an English translation of the original German at Der Sonntag, does not give any detail of the wider reforms envisaged. My guess, though, is that this is likely to be similar to those spelled out by German speaking theologians of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.  

Markus Büchel calls for far-reaching reforms in the Catholic Church. The bishop of the diocese of St. Gallen [St. Gall] spoke out openly for women’s ordination. “We must search for steps that lead there,” he said. “I could imagine that women’s diaconate could be such a step.”

One has not been permitted to discuss women’s ordination for a good while. “We can’t afford this anymore.” Regarding priesthood for women, Büchel said, “We can pray that the Holy Spirit enables us to read the signs of the times.”

He made this explosive statement in the St. Galler Pfarreiblatt [St. Gall Parish Paper]. Sabine Rüthemann, media spokesperson for the diocese, confirmed: “The interview is authorized. What Bishop Büchel said is what he means.”

These are very far-reaching statements for a bishop. They signal a Catholic breaking of taboos. In canon law every ordained ministry is limited to men.

– PrayTell – Worship, Wit & Wisdom.

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