TOGETHER FOR EUROPE – Press release July 1, 2016 (2) •
In the afternoon of the second day of their Congress, seventeen podium discussions in the inner city of Munich took place between the communities and Movements, and politicians, Church representatives and motivators from the economy and society, and an interested public.
“Christianity is not there to satisfy religious needs, but to place the world in a new light”, Cardinal Reinhard Marx emphasised in his statement on “Europe’s future lies in its roots”. Political influence has a part to play in this. Christians may not imagine that human rights, or even Germany’s basic law, are essentially rooted in the message of Jesus. They should far more set out with an attitude of humility to make this message visible in a practical sense in the world. This could contribute towards overcoming the new danger of primitive nationalism.
The refreshingly youthful podium on Christian values in the working world took an interesting turn to European values. Business people and leaders told us about their personal experiences of working for the preservation of jobs in a structurally weak region, on the rehabilitation of a technician with mental illness in the familiar surroundings at work, and supporting the connection between life at home and at work through a couple sharing their family and working lives, as well as the aim of sharpening people’s vision at work and in management positions for “European” forms of poverty – for example, addiction to gambling or excessive indebtedness.
Panel 5, Professional life and Christian values
Representatives of the think tank of the New Left, theologians and philosophers of Christian Movements came into a discussion on the podium devoted to “The Mystecism of Encounter”. Walter Beier, Member of the KPÖ and co-ordinator of the European Network “transform! Europe” encouraged Christians not to be afraid of secularisation: “With regard to the ultimate question of meaning, we are closer than we think – what matters is a fullness of humanity”. Jesús Moran of the Focolare Movement argued the case for new and inclusive forms of integration for people with varied outlooks on the world. “The harmony today between ourselves gives us reason for great hope”, he said in conclusion.
Panel 16, Encounter
Emilia Müller, Bavarian Minister for work and social policy, family and integration, spoke about the solidarity between generations. The different generations in Europe have to live together flexibly, not closing themselves off, but remaining open for new things: “We need to have a broad roof and open doors”.
“How long is the road to the unity of Christians?” asked a podium in the filled Church of the Redeemer. One could be under the impression that there is not a lot of movement, Cardinal Koch explained. Nevertheless, the Reformed Church in Switzerland is on the way to join the common declaration on the teaching on justification. Bishop Frank Otfried July of Würtemberg hoped that “the great sign of unity, communion around the same table, could be possible even before the road has reached its goal.” The Secretary General of the Ecumenical Council of Churches in Geneva, Olaf Fykse Tveit, warned: “There is no road to unity that does not also contain repentance.
Photo above: Panel 15 with Cardinal Marx
Original: German. Translation: Mary Cole, Manchester, England