For four days the German bishops met for the autumn plenary assembly in Fulda. The refugee crisis set the agenda there, too. Strong signals came from Fulda, says our site editor-in-chief Ingo Bruggenjurgen.
Since 1867, the German bishops regularly gather at the grave of St. Boniface, who has become the "Apostle of the Germans" since that time at the latest. Much water has flowed down the Fulda over the years – bishops have come and gone – the task has remained: Again and again, the faith must be spoken anew into the current time. But times are changing, sometimes quite rapidly. Originally, the bishops had in mind a "study day on social integration" for next year. The dramatic development in the refugee question has thrown all plans out of kilter. The right approach – the necessary action between life-saving emergency aid and long-term integration – determined the official conference and also the discussions on the sidelines. Christians can't just go back to business as usual. The bishops made it very clear that they did not want that either: While the CSU parliamentary group met at the same time in the monastery of Banz and had invited the Hungarian Prime Minister and border fence judge Viktor Orban, the bishops sent a very different signal: They had invited experts from emergency shelters, committed refugee helpers from Caritas, pastors and politicians who day after day take in refugees and help them. A strong signal.
It may well be that the media world is holding its breath when the VW Group loses 17 billion euros in value overnight – or the entire EU is painstakingly searching for a billion euros for the refugees. What are the at least 100 million euros, which the Catholics have so far made loose for their help here?? The church is not a corporation where the sum of the aid measures can be recorded at the push of a button. Every association, every monastery, every parish – they all get involved – but there is just no overall picture. Who also wants to record all the days and hours in which full-time employees and volunteers often provide help to the point of exhaustion these days – very concretely on site, where it is needed. The pope has no troops – but his voice carries weight. German bishops also throw their voices into the scales. The German Bishops' Conference is currently going through a generational change – a time between upheaval and new beginnings. But to all the scoffers who think the bishops are behind the times on the refugee ie, one would like to rub a quote from Cologne Cardinal Woelki in their faces: "After all, we are far from finished – this will take on much greater dimensions in the coming months. People will come to us from Syria, from Iraq, from Lebanon and we can only try together with the political leaders to do everything to welcome these people here. In any case, it will be a difficult situation and a great challenge for the whole society!"
This is what the Cologne cardinal, for whom refugee aid is a matter close to his heart, said. He said it not today, however, but a year ago. (Source: http://www.our site/video/talk-am-dom-mit-kardinal-woelki) Sometimes bishops are also ahead of their time – this gives courage for the necessary departure and transmission of faith into the present time.