Freiburg (dpa) – The largest welfare association in Germany will be led by a woman for the first time in the future: At the delegates’ meeting of the German Caritas Association in Freiburg on Wednesday, Eva Welskop-Deffaa was appointed as the successor to President Peter Neher. The prelate leaves office after 18 years.
The new president has been the board member for social and specialist policy in the Caritas Association since July 2017 and is also responsible for the digital agenda of the Catholic association. The Stuttgart city dean Christian Hermes and the chairman of the Caritas Association Trier, Markus Leineweber, also had candidates.
The 62-year-old Welskop-Deffaa is the first woman to head the association in the 125-year history of Caritas. “More than 80 percent of the Caritas employees are women. So it fits well that the head of the Catholic welfare association is now also a woman,” she said after the election.
It is one of the great themes of church renewal to open up the way for more women to church leadership positions. “I am happy when I can help to open the doors of the church from within.”
Welskop-Deffaa will take over from Neher in mid-November. Born in Duisburg and studied economics, she was elected for a six-year mandate by the more than 160 delegates of the association, who had gathered in Freiburg and virtually.
On Thursday (12 noon), Neher and Welskop-Deffaa want to formulate expectations and demands on the future federal government at a press conference at the end of the three-day meeting. In addition, topics such as the situation in Afghanistan and flood relief are to be dealt with.
According to its own information, Caritas employs more than 693,000 people in over 25,000 institutions and services nationwide. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers and volunteers support the work. The association has offers, among other things, in health care, child and youth welfare, elderly care, family support, as well as in support for the disabled and psychiatry.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 211013-99-586106 / 2