New strength from faith

New strength from faith

In the sign of the abuse crisis, the Catholic bishops have appealed for new trust on the occasion of Easter. In their sermons, they also promoted better protection of life and referred to the importance of Christianity for Europe.

The Cologne Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki in his Easter sermon, stressed the importance of the faith in the resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus crucified is the hope for "our lives" and "the whole world," the archbishop said Sunday in Cologne Cathedral. The apostles and Mary Magdalene testified "not only to the fact of the resurrection". They also showed the way to enter into deep communion with the risen Lord.

Woelki acknowledged that people today cannot see the Risen Lord. "But for this we have the testimony of the apostles who saw him."The final union with him "will not yet be granted to us in this world, but only with the Father in heaven". At the end of time, "we will see with wonder how our whole life, with all its hardships, with all our weakness, with our failures, our sin and our guilt, with our suffering and our disappointments, but also with our joy and our successes, will be transformed into the resurrection of Jesus Christ."

The Munich Cardinal Reinhard Marx warned against misusing the Christian message to stir up fear and exercise power. "Where faith is misused as an instrument of division, oppression and humiliation, the Easter message is perverted," said the president of the German Bishops' Conference in the Liebfrauendom in Munich. This had "certainly also happened in the history of the church and happens again and again".

The Bishop of Osnabruck Franz-Josef Bode picked up on the crisis of confidence in the Catholic Church. It was "shaken to its core": Some dead trees have to be cut down, others are "sick to the roots". And yet, new trust is growing "gossamer-thin and delicate. There are many efforts to shape the church again more strongly from the Good News of the Gospel, he said.

Ruhr Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck Lamented a crisis of confidence in Europe. All attempts to move away from the togetherness in the large political and economic area of Europe promote chaotic conditions. The bishop also criticized a "retreat into the familiar" in many countries. He appealed to people to also become familiar with change.

The Erfurt Bishop Ulrich Neymeyr called for the protection of life. Easter hope does not reduce the importance of the present life, he said on MDR. That is why the Church is committed to the protection of every human life, "from the womb to the deathbed.

Also the bishop of Speyer Karl-Heinz Wiesemann warned that the protection of life must be the highest guideline for all state and private actions. Without this "basic trust in life" society disintegrates.

The Bishop of Limburg Georg Batzing expressed sympathy with the "Fridays for Future" demonstrations of schoolchildren and students. Christians also have a responsibility: "Whether we preserve this uniquely beautiful earth or do away with it through our own fault is a deeply spiritual and religious question."

Bishop Heiner Wilmer of Hildesheim showed understanding for doubts in the face of war, despair and illness. "He who believes may also doubt. Without doubt, there would only be yes or no. That would be totalitarian," he stressed.

The Bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart Gebhard Furst called for commitment to suffering, hungry and poor people. In today's "highly technical, highly developed world," many problems have been solved. Nevertheless, dark experiences such as wars, illness, hunger, loneliness and "inevitable death" remain.

In the view of the bishop of Wurzburg Franz Jung Easter also means readiness for change. All efforts to hold on to what has been familiar up to now are doomed to failure, Jung explains in his video impulse for the celebration. It is about resurrection, "not resuscitation". This is what he wants on the way to the renewal of his diocese.

According to the Eichstatt bishop, the Easter message offers Gregor Maria Hanke the perspective of not having to come to terms with the logic of social systems and systems of domination as well as the economization of life. The celebration of the resurrection of Jesus is "a confession that we do not simply want to resign ourselves to the realities of this world.

The Archbishop of Freiburg Stephan Burger explained that Easter sends out a signal against hatred, intolerance and an irresponsible approach to nature and the environment. Easter is about a common hope for life, "which connects the miner in Peru, the fisherman and rice farmer in the Philippines with his family, the assembly line worker in our country, the nurse and educator as well as countless others, regardless of their origin and qualification.

In his first Easter sermon, the new Fulda bishop Michael Gerber the devastating fire in the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. The collapsed roof of the church is like a symbol of the "defenselessness to which people are repeatedly exposed by various kinds of violence". In contrast, the symbols of fire and flame at Easter are a reference to God, who wants to accompany people, the bishop said.

The Bishop of Dresden-Meissen, Heinrich Timmerevers, stressed that Easter stands for God's unbreakable faithfulness to mankind: "It is not darkness and gloom that mark the end, but light and life."

The Bishop of Hamburg Stefan Hebe referred to the Easter fire, symbolic of the flame of faith. "Easter wants us not to keep this fire to ourselves, but to pass it on and to infect others with it," he explained.

The Bishop of Aachen Helmut This called for the incomprehensibility of the faith in the resurrection not to be ignored. "Easter is not humanly possible," he said. All the Easter narratives showed that the inexplicable had become an unshakable belief against the fiercest odds and only gradually.

Munster's bishop Felix Genn Opposed to dismissing belief in the resurrection as "gossip". The Easter message also has political implications, he emphasized: Europe "arose from this spirit of faith in the Risen Lord" and received its value structure from there.

Believing in the resurrection is more than just a statement of faith, the archbishop of Paderborn said Hans-Josef Becker. This faith, he said, is an appeal to man "not to be absorbed in himself, in the orientation to consumption, in the fixation on property and possessions, in sinking into banality".

The bishop of Mainz Peter Kohlgraf explained that he is concerned that more and more people ame "that in the end there is an end, and no steps, no light, no hope, no eternity". He finds comfort in faith in the resurrection. Europe "arose from this spirit of faith in the Risen One" and received its value structure from there.

The Archbishop of Bamberg Ludwig Schick described the Easter Vigil as a night of rejoicing and thanksgiving. It changes life, he stressed, "This new life is freedom, is trust, is hope, is love, is commitment."

Easter also invites us to pause and reflect, said Bishop Ludwig Schick of Trier Stephan Ackermann. With its many biblical readings, the Easter Vigil service is quite at odds with a time "trimmed to brevity and conciseness" that often relies on short messages, he said. This reminds us that "life and faith take time; we need time to understand our lives, and we need more experiences than our own".

The Berlin archbishop Heiner Koch described the Easter message as an important impulse for commitment to the world. "Whoever is convinced in faith that the fullness of life awaits him after death, becomes courageous even now to stand up for life in a committed and powerful way against all threats to life here on earth, against all political, personal and social powers that want to limit the scope of life for people," he emphasized.

The Bishop of Magdeburg Gerhard Feige Sees in the Easter message "a call to life.". It is God's "yes" to everything human, "not only to the beautiful and flourishing, but also and especially to the frail, to the threatened and death-defeated," Feige said on Easter Sunday. Worldwide, however, human dignity is "trampled underfoot, and in many cases it plays no role at all".

"More and more, man arises to the lord over life and death, determines what is worth living or unworth living," said the bishop of the diocese of Magdeburg. He referred to the debates about prenatal genetic testing and active euthanasia, but also "when minors and wards are sexually abused" and "when hatred and agitation spread and poison togetherness or when the drowning of countless people in the Mediterranean is simply accepted and their possible rescue is even prevented".

According to the words of the Bishop of Gorlitz Wolfgang Ipolt Easter means an encouragement to life despite all the "wounds of man". Celebrating this feast does not mean "concealing or minimizing his suffering and burdens, indeed his cross, or even declaring it a taboo," he said. "There is no life without wounds – not with Jesus and not with any human being on this earth. This is comforting and challenging at the same time."

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