“I like being an import priest!”

In an interview with “Augsburger Allgemeine”, ZdK president Thomas Sternberg says import priest are no long-term solution for the lack of priests in Germany.

He probably is not a soccer fan. There, imports are absolutely normal. The same holds true for international management. No change is in sight. Why would I, an Italian-born, not be able to do a great job for the diocese Augsburg just as Carlo Ancelotti is now trying to do for FC Bayern. So that is why like being an “import priest” in the diocese of Augsburg, where I can put in my experience from home into counselling in Germany. In the episcopal ordinariate I am responsible for approximately 150 priests from the world church, and I do counselling as well. Hence, I feel obliged to lend a voice to the 150 priests from the world church. We like being here and do not feel like foreigners! Everybody talks about a globalised world. The Catholic church might even be the oldest, global company. Why would German churches not want to learn from priests from the world church? We are always available for help, also for the president of the central committee of the Catholics. My first advice to him would be: Pope Francis himself said after his election, he came from the end of the world. I doubt that Mr. Sternberg would consider him an “import pope” or use the word of “import” at all in this context! alp

Green wave uphill

A cyclist is driving heroically up the hill at 20 km/h in front of my MINI. Respect.

Nevertheless, letting me overtake him would be a nice gesture. With his riding style this seems to be completely impossible for miles. Enough time to get acquainted with his extensive self-confidence, which appears to be two lanes wide. Apparently, something more important than cycling is being conducted here. He is just about to save the world. The sweeping self-esteem in front of my bonnet is truly impressive, almost without emitting any CO2. It moves as relentlessly and tirelessly as the wind turbines of the energy revolution while being as cool and energy efficient as a triple A refrigerator. He does not care about me or any sorrows such as globalisation or industrialisation—a brilliant role model in front of my bonnet just like a LED, which shines brighter than my anger-filled head at the moment. mas

Brexit 1534 | 2016

The discussion about the “posthistoire” and the end of history, which was conducted by historians after the end of the cold war, has finally been rendered absurd:

You can not get out of history like you can leave a train that goes in the wrong direction. But you can make historical decisions. The British have made use of this.

For the Catholic Church the “Brexit” will soon be half a millennium old. Henry VIII separated the English Church from the Catholic Church by the Supreme Act of 1534. The time-lapsing slowness of the Church's history perception, which is breathtaking in relation to the history of the world, reveals continuities which are hardly perceived in political events.

Englands foreign-policy sense of security, based on the balance of power, was increasingly disturbed by the EU. The self-portraying of the German chancellor as a leader of Europe has grown to be the decisive motive for the Brexit, intensified by her demand for a Europe-wide refugee quota. This is the rather regrettable part of the story for us Germans.

This national perspective can be further expanded. Britain's insistence on deciding themselves what clearly affects them comes close to what was developed in the nineteenth-century Catholic social doctrine as a general principle of subsidiarity. ses


On the news reader of N24 on 20 June 2016: “Munich is the richest diocese”, even before of Cologne and Paderborn.

Other channels were telling sums. Significant sums! Should we become wary only because the church tax office is also taking the capital gains tax?

On 4 December 1842, John Henry Newman, still anglican back then, told his listeners: “As long as gold and silver are used by the Church to increase the praises of the Lord, it will be given and accepted; but when it is loved for it's own sake, it loses it's sanctification, and is no longer given ‘by the Lord’, but by the world.”

No further questions. ars

Nonsense and injustice - 10 years of UN Human Rights Council

The noble custom of the UN Human Rights Council to announce every speaker as “the distinguished representative” increases the comedy like a running gag:

The Saudis confirm China's correct dealing with minorities and China praises Saudi Arabia for freedom of religion. If the “distinguished representatives” obviously can't do much for human rights and human dignity, then the dignity of the Member of Parliament will be celebrated extensively, instead.

The practical side-effect of this time-consuming diplomatic courtesy is revealed when the delegates of Cuba, Venezuela, Russia and Pakistan interfere with the speech of the UN Watch speaker Hillel Neuer and reduce his speaking time to a few seconds due to their comments. Hillel Neuer had asked: “Why are there no resolutions at all—zero—for human rights victims in China, Russia, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela? Why, on the contrary, are those governments elected members of this Council? Why are there no urgent sessions on gross and systematic rights abuses in Iran, Iraq, Syria, or Turkey?” ses

The lout, the people

Full of envy and admiration, the imagination makes its way through the Eurotunnel to the island on the other side of the English Channel.

The confidence of the elected rulers in their proud people, among which no one has a personal identity card! Now their straight Yes or No may stir up the European project!

A referendum is grammatically a gerund. It expresses a necessity, here: to make sure what the sovereign wants.

How different it is with us. For years there was no opposition, which means: no alternatives. The sovereign is at best trusted to throw his garbage into the right bin. According to the Basic Law a referendum as in Great Britain is not intended. The mistrust to the lout, the people, is limitless. Maybe they're right. “You are the task. No student in sight.” (F. Kafka) ars

Hand signs

1508 – 2016…


Theology on an expansion xourse?

In a show about Jane Goodall she was quoted with the sentence:

“The day the gorillas recognized me as one of them was the most beautiful day in my life.”

I have just read about the existence of an institute at a philosophical-theological college, whose patron is Jane Goodall. It is called “Institute of Theological Zoology”. anm

Conversation with a young Muslim woman (translated from Italian)

She is beautiful with tanned, velvety skin, at the end of her twenties. The head is wrapped in a veil of natural silk.

Only the shoes, walking shoes, suggest any familiarity with Western clothes. The dark, deep eyes speak of another life unknown to their Italian contemporaries. She has been married for eight years. He has been living in Italy for 14 years, where he has now set up his own craftman's business. They have two children and there will be more. She longs to study again, after she had stopped her studies at the age of 19 because of the marriage. But now, with the family, she would not have time for it.

She has come to the Catholic Counseling Center because she is worried about her son. On vacation they were in their homeland, and when they came back, the child became increasingly restless. She says the child is as if divided between Italy and her home country. Then she corrected: “I am as if divided, we as parents are divided”. She would love to go back home, but her husband does not want to. He has worked so hard in this foreign country, now he has his own craftman's business and can properly care for the family. In his country he wouldn't have all this. There he would have to take the risk of starting from the beginning. For him this is out of the question.

She is fighting back her tears. In her home country, the family would lose all security—in Italy, they will lose their children. She regularly visits the mosque, attends a course to read and understand the language of the Koran. She prays five times a day and fasts in the month of Ramadan. “When I pray, I keep my children near, so that they can learn it too.”

What is worrying her? “I'm afraid for the children” she says. As an ignorant western woman, I'm directing the conversation to the IS and the current great concerns in the Islamic world. Her beautiful eyes darken and she looks down: “Yeah, that's a big problem” she says, but quickly looks up again and her clear voice says: “My problem is a different one. The purpose of my life is to educate children who want to live near God as adults. Then their life will be a good life. This is all I want. But in Italy, it is difficult to teach the children the faith and nearness of God. Our children are lost here. I would feel good in Italy if the Italians were Christians, but they aren't. The Italians are nothing. And seeing my children growing up here makes me afraid.”

Now I'm looking down. What can I, as a Catholic counselor, say to a young Muslim mother who fears that her children will lose God's nearness in the midst of our nothingness? I don't know what to say, so I embrace her. cat / translation maz

The dear God and the dear money—TV logic

In his late-night show on January 17, 2016, Jan Böhmermann criticized the state financing of church institutions in a discussion with the invited Green Party chairwoman Katrin Göring-Eckardt.

In this situation, the Green Party chairwoman wondered how “atheistic” their TV host was. Perhaps she meant church-critical, which might well be said about Böhmermann—although his critique is about state funding, not the church. But Mrs Göring-Eckardt says “atheistic”.

According to this logic, state cross-financing and faith in God would be causally connected. It almost sounds like: A bit more gratitude—not to the taxpayer, but to heaven—should be expected if you get money from the state. According to this logic, all public TV stations should indeed show a little more piety. Good night – madness! ses