Monday, September 25, 2017

Religious leaders react with horror to German election result

Reactions of religious representatives to the Bundestag election

In view of the election results for the AfD at the Bundestag election, representatives of the committees are shocked and see great challenges for the next four years.
Central Committee of Catholics: "Do not give AfD a place at court"

The President of the Central Committee of German Catholics (Zdk), Thomas Sternberg (who is a member of the CDU), spoke of a "bitter evening": "We hoped that they would not get such a high number of votes."

The church should not give the party “a special place at court. It is important that we understand as a church, what has led people to choose such a party in such high numbers, and we have to involve ourselves more intensively, and we will do so with all our strength."

The task now is to look closely at what the party is doing and to deal with issues such as the Islamic Dialogue or Europe because these could be "damaged by a strong Afd", according to Thomas Sternberg, head of lay Catholics in Germany.

"We are dealing with a party in which leaving the Church was called for and expressions such as the Christian West and Christianity were abused."

Cardinal Reinhard Marx warns against rising nationalism

"Our nation first, we first" – in this way every war began, warns the Munich Archbishop and Cardinal.

We should not allow ourselves to be seduced. Christians must be the forerunners of togetherness, for before God it does not count where one comes from, but who one is.

"With God, there are other laws, and not the law, we first, our nation is greater and stronger and more powerful and we are worthier than others."

Cardinal Reinhard Marx

Protestant Church Council President Heinrich Bedford-Strohm

EKD Council President Heinrich Bedford-Strohm has described the success of the AfD in the German election as a "wake-up call for all", "who are concerned with peaceful and solidarity in a cosmopolitan Germany".

According to Bedford-Strohm, in an initial reaction to the election result of the AfD, the suppression of speakers during election rallies and personally offensive slogans were "frightening expressions of a lack of political culture." That is why all of us now need to work together "to ensure that exclusion and hate-filled voices do not poison life in our country."

The greatest democratic challenge since the foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany

Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, sees the Federal Republic of Germany facing the greatest democratic challenge since 1949.

"For the first time, a right-wing populist party, with a strong overlap with the right-wing extremist scene, has been elected to the Bundestag on this scale. The other parties are not allowed to play against each other, nor to provoke them."

Josef Schuster, Central Council of the Jews

"I expect our democratic forces to unveil the true face of the AfD and unmask the populist's empty promises," said the President of the Central Council, Schuster.

Charlotte Knobloch: AfD result "is a nightmare"

The former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Charlotte Knobloch, calls the robust performance of the AfD in the German parliamentary elections a "real nightmare".

With the AfD, inter-alia, exclusion, ethnic nationalism, Holocaust denial, anti-Semitism and anti-religious sentiment would have a place in the German Parliament. "The party program and candidate lists show: They are back, the unfaithful obne , who stir up hatred and contempt," said the 84-year-old president of the Munich and Upper Bavarian Jewish Community, who serves as a representative for Holocaust memory in the World Jewish Congress.

World Jewish Congress: result is "abominable"

Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Congress of the World, declared in New York that it was "abominable" that the AfD now had been given an opportunity to tout its “repulsive” program in the German Parliament. He described the party as a "disgraceful, backward-moving movement that would recall the worst of the German past and should be ostracized".

Central Council of Muslims: "We are very unsettled"

The chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, Aiman Mazyek, alleges that the established parties and the media were complicit in the robust performance of the AfD. Many things, "which were heard in the election campaign from the democratic parties, albeit more cleverly and more covertly, were AfD rhetoric, and thus kowtowed to these ideologues," said the Chairman of the Central Council of Muslims.

"We Muslims are very insecure."
Central Council of Muslims in Germany

Gökay Sofuoglu, the President of the Turkish Community in Germany, said:

"We must make it clear that a diverse and open society is not a burden caused by immigration, but rather an opportunity to courageously rethink traditional methods and systems and enable equal opportunities for all people living in Germany."

Cardinals and Bishops in dispute about ecumenism

According to the Cardinal, there is an ethical fundamental difference between Catholics and Protestants. Cardinal Woelki has torpedoed the ecumenical course of Munich's Reinhard Marx.

The biggest surprise of the 2017 Reformation Jubilee is how well the Catholics and Protestants get along with each other 500 years after the division of the church. They celebrate a joint Festival of Christ, leading representatives of both denominations have gone on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, have regretted and condemned the mutual condemnations of the past, and now they are so united.

The Cardinal Reinhard Marx and Heinrich Bedford-Strohm (the Council President of the Protestant Church in Germany), wanted this to be even more: At the end of the year, Protestant Christians from mixed denominational couples on a case by case basis were to be admitted to the Catholic communion, a small step that something is moving in ecumenism. It was clear that Rome was ready to "make progress this year", said Cardinal Walter Kasper, once the "Ecumenical Minister" of the Curia and now one of the favourite theologians of Pope Francis.

Ecumenical table and bed yes, Eucharist no

Catholic-Protestant couples are not allowed to participate in the Lord's Supper. Well, in the Reformation year, there are signals from the Vatican of change coming soon.

But that is not going to happen as there is a discordant note in the harmony of the Reformation year. In this case, it is not coming from the hard-fisted interferers in Rome, but with the fact that the Catholic bishops in Germany cannot agree. They meet from Monday evening for the autumn meeting in Fulda - and on Tuesday, when if the 68 bishops and auxiliary bishops accept their work, a sweeping blow against ecumenism and the admission of Protestants to the Eucharist will appear in the ecclesiastical journal, Herder Correspondenz. The text has been given to the Süddeutsche Zeitung. It author: the Cologne Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, Archbishop of the largest German bishopric - and increasingly the antipode of the bishop's chairman, Marx.

With all the joy of mutual appreciation, one should not hide the problems in ecumenism, writes Woelki. So there is an "increasing disagreement on moral and social ethics," in bioethics, on "marriage for all", in the "assessment of abortion, euthanasia or divorce", so much so that one must “talk of an ethical fundamental difference between both confessions”.

Woelki causes disruption by stating that the Protestant church presents itself as a "confession of freedom" - against the Catholic Church, which then appears to be unfree and backward, and confronts the Protestants. Luther had preached the absolute obedience to God, "not the freedom of autonomous self-determination." He, Woelki, doubted "in the face of the many divisions of Protestantism" that " a confessional unit can be based on Luther's sola scriptura (alone from Scripture) " -the Pope and Magisterium is necessary for this unity.

Visiting Boniface

From 16 to 21 October 1867, German Catholic bishops met for a "confidential discussion about the most important questions of the time" - in Fulda at the tomb of St. Boniface, the "Apostle of the Germans". The place and the assembly were signs. The bishops wanted to demonstrate self-consciousness against the Prussian-Protestant supremacy. The first meeting has become a tradition: For the past 150 years, Germany's bishops have been meeting for the autumn assembly in Fulda.
And why should not the Protestants agree with Catholics on the definition of the priesthood, the bishop's office? At present a mutual invitation to the Eucharist and the Lord's Supper is dishonest. According to the Cardinal, Martin Luther would not "invite the Catholics to the communion of the Lord's Supper" unless there was a common confession.

The contribution is thus gaining in importance because here not an individual ecumenically-frustrated person writes about his wrath from the soul (within the Archbishopric of Cologne, it is said that Woelki limits his ecumenical commitment to the necessary). The Cardinal in Cologne summarizes what those bishops think, that the harmony to the Reformation year goes too far, but they do not dare to formulate this too sharply: you cannot water down the positive headlines because of your own faith. Seven of the 27 diocesan bishops are against the invitation of selected Protestants to Communion, it is said. Now that Woelki has so openly made himself the spokesman for this minority, it should be over with the ecumenical sign: the statute.