Sunday, January 01, 2012

Muslim fight for Catholic churches

Duisburger Muslime kämpfen für katholische Kirche - Region | DerWesten

In the north of Duisburg, the Catholic Diocese wants to close five or six of their churches - including, possibly, St. Peter and Paul in Marxloh. As a result, there is interest from the association of the neighbouring Merkez Mosque: "Regardless of whether its a church or mosque - it's about a house of God," said the association chairman Mohammed Al.

Vigils, protest letters - if the bishop closes churches, protest is planned. The Ruhr diocese has long previous experience. But now Muslims have set their sights on the threatened Catholic Church. Muhammed Al finds that only logical: "Regardless of whether its a church or mosque - it's about a house of God. This affects us just like our Catholic friends, "says the chairman of the association of the Duisburg Merkez Mosque, the largest in Germany

Since the founding of the mosque association in 1984, there has been close contact with the Catholic community of St. Peter and Paul. He was "very distressed" therefore, when he heard from the local parish priest, Michael Kemper that the church may be closed. He has written to the bishop, with a request to "consider all options for maintainance." It would be "unfortunate if a church is closed only for financial reasons."

On closure, there is no way around it
After closure in the first large wave about five years ago, the Ruhr diocese wants to let go other churches in the north of Duisburg. Nothing had been decided, but there is no way around, says Pastoral Councillor, Michael Dörnemann. In Duisburg-Marxloh, only 19 percent are Catholic. Five, maybe six churches are at stake. The large parish of St. Norbert with the Peter and Paul parish could be absorbed into a neighboring parish. For weeks, resistance has been met - even against the style of the bishop, who has flouted with a "binding proposal" all other closure scenarios of the parish.

Besides the loss of a home for a - shrunken - parish, there are fears thatof the end at Peter and Paul in Marxloh of a piece of successful integration in a problem district. "It would be fatal," says Father Kemper. Muhammed Al is at least satisfied that the diocese has responded and assured him "we would explore all possibilities."

Bishop Overbeck has made the north of Duisburg clearly a top priority: On Tuesday, he wants to visit all the affected communities himself.

Cathcon- the parish website indicates a thriving parish.  There are other agendas here which are less than public.