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German diocese appoints women to ‘represent’ vicar general

October 17, 2022

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CWN Editor's Note: A German bishop has appointed a woman to the newly created role of “representative of the vicar general,” giving her authority that the Code of Canon Law reserves for a senior priest.

Bishop Peter Kohlgraf of Mainz appointed Stephanie Rieth to the “unique” position earlier this year, saying that she would not only assist the current vicar general (Bishop Udo Bentz) “but will also independently carry out the vicar general’s tasks in his place.”

The Mainz diocese has said that the appointment does not violate canon law because Rieth will not assume “tasks or activities that are reserved for a cleric because of their sacramental or liturgical connection.” The Vatican has not commented on the appointment.

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