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German bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck.

ESSEN, Germany (LifeSiteNews) —  A German bishop commissioned 13 more female pastoral ministers to confer the sacrament of baptism. 

They were in the second group of lay ministers that Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck of the Diocese of Essen has commissioned to confer baptisms. In March of 2022, the German prelate commissioned 18 lay pastoral ministers, including 17 women, to administer the sacrament of baptism in their respective parishes for a period of three years. 

Overbeck commissioned 16 additional lay pastoral ministers, including 13 women, on Sunday, October 23.  

The German bishop named a lack of priests and “structural change” as the reasons for his decision to confer the rights to administer baptisms to lay ministers. 

“It is a good and very meaningful tradition, deeply connected with the origins of the Church, that the sacraments are governed and administered by those who hold an office [holy orders] in the Church,” Overbeck said in his sermon on Sunday. 

“In times of structural change, this is becoming increasingly difficult,” the German prelate continued. “Thus, by recognizing the crisis-ridden times, I use the possibilities offered by canon law (cf. can. 861 §2 CIC), in order to grant you, dear pastoral and parish ministers, permission to administer baptism in exceptional cases […].” 

According to canon 861 of the Code of Canon Law, lay people can in fact administer baptism in certain cases: “When an ordinary minister is absent or impeded, a catechist or another person designated for this function by the local ordinary, or in a case of necessity any person with the right intention, confers baptism licitly.” 

However, a baptism is invalid if the minister does not have the right intentions, uses the wrong words, or pours a liquid that isn’t water over the person being baptized. Cases of invalid baptisms have multipliedrecently, some even involving priests with many years of training. Training for the lay ministers in Essen lasted four days. 

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A large childcare chain in the United States just fired a faithful Christian caretaker for refusing to read LGBT propaganda to children.

As reported on LifeSiteNews, Bright Horizons Children’s Center in California terminated the contract of Nelli Parisenkova for not reading LGBT-themed books to children as young as 1 year-old.  

Parisenkova, a devout Christian who worked for the company for four years, requested to not read the books because they violated her deeply held religious beliefs.

Instead of tolerating Nelli’s Christian faith, Bright Horizons demanded she 'celebrate diversity' or leave. After refusing to comply with this unjust ultimatum, Parisenkova’s boss expelled her from the building, which forced her to walk 20 minutes in 96-degree heat to the bus stop where she had to wait another 45 minutes.

Parisenkova is now suing Bright Horizons Children’s Center for violating her religious freedom, and she needs your help to raise public awareness about this assault on her human rights.

Sign this petition today to tell Nelli Parisenkova that you stand with her and her Christian faith against the LGBT agenda being pushed by Bright Horizon’s Children’s Center.

Bright Horizons thinks it can bully devout Christians like Nelli into submitting to their leftist ideology. Do not let them get away with it! We all must take a stand to ensure these attacks on our shared Christian faith come to an end. Here are the plain and simple facts:

  • No child should be brainwashed to believe that marriage is between two men or two women.
  • No child should be told that boys can become girls, or that girls can become boys.
  • No child should be indoctrinated with the erroneous belief there are more than two genders, or that people can choose their gender identity.

This is not education. This is propaganda.

Nelli Parisenkova was RIGHT to protect children from LGBT indoctrination and she was RIGHT to invoke her Christian faith in doing so.

SIGN THIS PETITION NOW to tell her she is not alone in this fight!


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Though Overbeck cited a shortage of priests as a reason to allow lay ministers, predominantly women, to administer the sacrament of baptism, there is likely a progressive agenda behind the move. Overbeck is a well-known proponent of the heterodox Synodal Way in Germany.  

In October 2019, the bishop said he was in favor of the ordination of women, one of the main reforms that the promoters of the Synodal Way in Germany are hoping to bring about. 

He has also expressed other views in line with the Synodal Path, such as the idea that the Church should change its teaching on homosexuality. 

Moreover, in his Sunday sermon on October 23, Overbeck said that the goal of commissioning the “extraordinary ministers of baptism” is to “take further steps in the development of the theology of holy orders.” 

“Here it is significant that we develop a new spiritual form of catechesis with regard to all the sacraments,” the German prelate stated. “Here we are at the beginning, often still very much bound by traditional forms, which we must also honestly say have less and less existential consequences for those who receive the sacraments.” 

Theresa Kohlmeyer, a laywoman who is the Head of the Liturgy and Faith Communication Department in the Diocese of Essen, is responsible for the preparation of the persons commissioned for baptism. 

“Some families explicitly want a woman to be the baptismal minister, others want the priest – it’s all possible,” Kohlmeyer stated, according to the diocese’s press release. 

And of course, Kohlmeyer added, it must also be considered how the commissioning of lay people changes the image of priests. 

The diocese of Essen was the first German diocese to introduce the practice of lay ministers administering baptism. However, it will not remain the only one. Bishop Gebhard Fürst of the diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart issued a decree, taking effect on November 1, allowing for lay ministers to confer baptisms. Furthermore, in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, an important Catholic lay organization demanded the possibilities of preaching, baptism, and marriage assistance for lay people. 

In 2021, there were 141,929 baptisms in Germany and 12,280 priests. That year, the total number of Catholics in Germany was recorded as 21,645,875.

Interestingly, there were 557 priestly ordinations in Germany in 1962, the first year of the Second Vatican Council, and only 62 in 2021, 59 years later.


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