Germany: Magdeburg, “Die Pastoral”. Eastern dioceses exchange views on Christian faith in secularised society

What is the future of the Church in East Germany? What options do we have to follow in Jesus Christ’s footsteps as a minority in a highly secularised environment? These questions regarding the future of the dioceses and the faith of German Catholics will be discussed, from Thursday 19 to Sunday 22 September, at the Congress “Die Pastorale” (Pastoral Care) in Magdeburg. The four-day event is a sort of small “Katholikentag”, the large gathering that brings together German Catholics every 2 years. Building on two previous events in 2006 and 2009, the Congress, according to the organisers, will highlight the diversity of Church life in the eastern part of the Federal Republic of Germany. The meeting is presented as “a combination of celebration, exchange of ideas, seminar and conference”. At the same time, the meeting should be an opportunity to address the challenge posed by secular society to the Christian faith, in regions where Christians are a minority. The Bishop of Magdeburg, Mgr. Gerhard Feige, spoke of the role that the small group of Catholics could play in the eastern German diaspora using the term “creative minority”. He stressed that Catholics should become actively involved in the secular society between the Baltic Sea and the Ore Mountains and bear witness to the Gospel in an ecumenical spirit. According to Mgr. Feige, Eastern German Christians can still make a “useful contribution” to the German society: “We Christians, too, should come up with good proposals for the future”.

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