Twenty-six non-ordained theologians have been authorized to administer the sacrament of baptism in church liturgies for the first time in the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart in south-western Germany, following the Diocese of Essen which did so in March.
At a service in Rottenburg Cathedral on Wednesday evening, Bishop Gebhard Fuerst commissioned them to perform the sacrament in the future.
At the ceremony, the theologian Regina Seneca said it was an important step toward contemporary pastoral care. Bishop Fuerst thanked the theologians for taking up their new role and said they were taking on an important role in passing on the faith in future.
In March, the Diocese of Essen published a similar regulation on baptismal ceremonies by non-ordained male and female theologians.
UPDATE … Some statistics from Catholic-Hierarchy.org:
About the diocese in question, as of 2020:
- Catholics: 1,863,000
- Diocesan priests: 800
- Religious priests: 148
- Permanent deacons: 288
- Parishes: 1,023