German Catholic Church appoints first female secretary

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German Catholic Church appoints first female secretary
Beate Gilles in Bonn on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Germany's Catholic bishops elected a woman as their general secretary for the first time on Tuesday, in a decision hailed as a "strong sign" of modernisation in the crisis-hit Church.


Theologian Beate Gilles, 50, will succeed Hans Langendörfer on July 1st as a high-ranking official charged with implementing decisions taken by the

"This is a strong sign that the bishops are acting on their agreement to promote women into leadership positions," said Georg Bätzing, president of the bishops' conference.


Langendörfer is retiring after 24 years in the role.

The council of 68 bishops are meeting via video conference this week in a virtual spring council overshadowed by a scandal over the controversial cardinal of Cologne Rainer Maria Woelki.

READ ALSO: Tensions mount in German Catholic Church over abuse report

Woelki, a powerful archbishop, has blocked the publication of a report about alleged sexual abuse of minors by members of his diocese, the largest in Germany.

His decision has prompted a furious reaction from victims and growing criticism from outside and inside the church.

READ ALSO: Six things to know about Catholicism in Germany




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