English Summary – 1/2019 Eastern Germany

Norbert Schmidt
Eastern Germany – Land at hand and unknown
Several contextual probes in place of the editorial
Introduction to Salve’s Diaspora Church on the example of the former East Germany is a study that outlines the historical, cultural and religious context of the whole region. It refers to the issue of the term Ostdeutschland, in several probes it remind the overlaps of the Nazi and communist era as well as the current nationalist tendencies. It addresses the specific topical problems of the new Länder, linked to the overall transformation, extermination or refugee crisis, and recalls the distinctive intellectual personalities of the region, the sociologists Hans Joas and Hartmut Rosa. It further introduces into the concept of religious diaspora as an integer leitmotif, describes the importance of Erfurt as one of the spiritual and intellectual centres of Catholicism in the former East Germany, and briefly outlines the overall composition of the texts of this Salve and its visual attachment.

Julia Knop
The Diaconate as a Dimension of the Diaspora Church
The Church is and must be the sacrament of salvation and the sacrament of the unity of mankind among each other and with god. The three dimensions martyria, diakonia and liturgia illustrate the sacramentality of the church, ever concidering the precise social and religious surroundings of Christians. In contrast to the life of the Church in a situation of majority, the religious diaspora may require particular forms, especially a basically “diaconic” attitude of Christians living as a “creative minority”.

There are no more sacred oaks, which we could cut down as St. Bonifac!
Two dialogues with Eberhard Tiefensee on Eastern Germany and a growing number of religiously indifferent people
Two dialogues (from Herder Korrespondenz and directly for Salve with Norbert Schmidt) with Prof. Tiefensee, a Catholic philosopher, theologian and priest, an expert in the philosophy of religion in secular and post-secular society, addresses the specific Eastern German experiences of religious dia¬spora, atheism, areligiosity and religious indifference. Tiefensee speaks of a way to address such people religiously and church, of the concept of anonymous Christians or implicit religion, as well as of dangerous populism and extremism in this part of Germany.

Eva Vybíralová
Hidden help from the German Democratic Republic for Catholics in Czechoslovakia
The article deals with various forms of hidden assistance provided by the East German Catholic church to believers in Czechoslovakia. At the time of communist totality, at least one hundred Czechs and Slovaks were secretly consecrated in the German Democratic Republic to deacons and priests. Joachim Meisner had the greatest credit in this field. He also contribute to secret li¬censed study of theology in Erfurt to five Czech salesians and one of their collaborators. In addition, in Erfurt, candidates from Czechoslovakia were allowed to hold an annual catechetic week. Individual spiritualities and groups found support in the German Democratic Republic with their brothers.

“The Experience of the free and joyful people of God”
Survey about Czechoslovakia experience with church in The German Democratic Republic
Survey prepared by Eva Vybíralová and Norbert Schmidt represents the experience of Czech theologians with the East German church. Cyril Jaroslav Brázda OFM, Jiří Kratochvíl, Marie Koukolová, Alois Křišťan SDB, Adolf Pintíř, Mireia Ryšková and Vojtěch Soudský OP contributed.

Christians need „humble self-confidence”
Dialogue with emeritus bishop of Erfurt Joachim Wanke
Norbert Schmidt’s review dialogue with Bishop Joachim Wanke (* 1941) represents this distinctive personality of the German Church, his journey to the priesthood, the experience of working during the period of communist time, the transformation of the church and society after the coup. It looks into a way of addressing the non-religious public at the moment, what the church of tomorrow and its spirituality should look like.

Joachim Wanke
Special case Thuringia
Marginalised religion
Bishop Wanke’s lecture presents a specific experience of religious life in the secularised German Land of Thuringia. It wonders what role religion plays in a non-religious, broadly secularised (although still Christian “impregnated”) society, and what the (statistical) marginalisation of Christianity means to self-understanding the churches and Christians present here. The specifics of the Eastern German situation are summarised by four points: The continuing urgent need of moderniza¬tion; the eastern inferiority complex; the loss of spiritual orientation; the deep-seated alienation of Christianity and the church. Hence the question of whether the marginalised Christian religion in Eastern Germany is of any importance at all. It therefore notes the importance of Christian religion for the “culture of memory”; the contribution of Christian religion to social society and pluralist educational infrastructure; the interest of non-believers in the alienated “religiosity”; a new appreciation of the importance of religion in the quest for a humane future. On this basis, he outlines his vision of the future of (Christian) religion in the new “non-religious” Länder.

Gerhard Feige
Diaspora and ecumenes
The two texts of Bishop Feige (* 1951) represent two characteristics of German Catholicism – the situation of the diaspora, as its challenges were characterised in a sermon on the occasion of the introduction of the new vicar general on 1 September 2016, and the situation of the presence of more Christian confederations in the country, especially Lutheran, which was preparing for the anniversary of 500 years of reform. In a lecture at the Academy of the Theological College in Paderborn on 30 January 2017, he takes a critical view of the reality of ecumenical cooperation between German Catholics and Lutherans and shows the multi-layered nature of their cooperation.

Benedikt Kranemann
Disaster Rituals and Public Liturgy
Disaster rituals or public liturgy after a disaster is a kind of worship, which was established in Germany in the last years. This paper looks on the phenomenon from the perspective of liturgical studies. What is the procedure of this liturgy? What is the function of Christian churches in the mourning of the society after a schooting rampage or terror attack? What are the challenges of these liturgies of churches in today’s society? The article shows that the liturgy is part of broader proces of public grief. It’s a “dangerous liturgy” with many expectations. Important are not only texts of the bible and of prayers, but also signs and rituals. They must speak in a situation of speechlessness. There is a relation between Christian ethic and the ritual engagement for mourner regardless of their denomination. Very complicated is the question of the cooperation of different religions in a Christian ecumenical worship. It is one question of the future of these liturgies.

Hubertus Schönemann
Germany mission country!? On sending and receiving
The German lay theologian is thinking about the concept of Germany as a missionary country to develop his idea of the contemporary and current catholic missionary activity. The German experience sets him a critical mirror to the way the mission has looked in the past. It thus formulates its accents for modern missionary ecclesiology and pastoration in Germany, which include a shift from the missionary territories to the missionary environments, a mission as a new introduction to culture, a shift from the people’s church to the church of diaspora, and a reflection of christianity in a new type of modern, a strengthening of conscious validation of faith by free entities, innova¬tion instead of stability, etc.

Nils Hoffmann
Calendar of the Catholic Church in the former GDR
The Calendar presents a comprehensive overview of major social and church events from the end of World War II to 1990 in the former East Germany.