In her new role, she is likely to work closely with Beate Gilles, who was elected as the first female general secretary of the German bishops’ conference in February, succeeding the long-serving Fr. Hans Langendörfer, S.J.
Born in Ellwangen, southwest Germany, Stetter-Karp trained as a social worker and educator. The married mother of two led the Caritas department of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart before her retirement in September 2020.
Her predecessor, Thomas Sternberg, maintained a high profile following his election in 2015, serving as one of the most prominent faces of the Synodal Way, alongside bishops’ conference president Bishop Georg Bätzing.
In March this year, Sternberg criticized the Vatican’s rejection of same-sex blessings.
In May, he controversially received communion during a service at a Protestant church during a major ecumenical event.
Bätzing congratulated Sternberg’s successor on Nov. 19, expressing gratitude for “the good and fruitful relations” between the ZdK and the bishops’ conference.
“We are going through one of the deepest crises of the Church in Germany, but we are not discouraged,” he wrote.
“That is precisely what the Synodal Way wants: to contribute to the renewal of the Church out of the Gospel, in order to contribute to a new credibility and trust.”
(Story continues below)
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The ZdK traces its roots to 1848, when Charles, Prince of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg, founded the Catholic Society of Germany. The society was renamed the Central Committee of German Catholics in 1952.
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