“We rely on dialogue”

At the end of the 98. The President of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), Alois Gluck, described the meeting as a "great celebration of faith" on the occasion of the 20th German Catholics' Day. At the same time, in his speech at the closing service in Mannheim on Sunday, which was interrupted several times by applause, he called for change: "For us, deepening the faith and necessary change are not mutually exclusive."The Catholic News Agency (KNA) documents the text of the address.

This Catholic Day was a great celebration of faith. I thank all those who helped in the preparation and execution that we could celebrate this festival together.

We have experienced a lively, faith-strong and vital church. Again and again I heard: "I have recharged my battery here".

Yes, the situation in our church is more than the sum of its deficits. A lot of great things are happening in our church and in the name of the church, but also by Catholics acting in their own responsibility as citizens!

For me, it was a joyful experience to witness the diversity and commitment of so many ecclesial communities, associations and organizations on the Church Mile. This diversity is not danger, but richness! This is the fruit of the commitment of many, many volunteers. They live faith and church, that is a special treasure.

This Catholic Day was open to all the questions that beset us in the situation and development of our Church. For us, deepening faith and necessary change are not contradictions. We rely on dialogue – and we expect dialogue and results. In the freedom of the mind and the word, and with respect for other people and their positions, we deliberated, discussed and debated controversially. This culture of discussion should become the benchmark for all our church debates.

For this, the attitude of the listening heart, which the Holy Father put on the heart of the politicians in the Bundestag, is also a good orientation within the Church. The "listening heart", that is the way to the people, so church becomes more attractive again! This also helps to overcome the often noticeable fear of change, pessimism, despondency.

"Let us trust in life, because God lives it with us."This is what the great son of this city, Alfred Delp, told us from prison. This is a good foundation for life in this time.

Only complaining or lamenting is not our way. We want to help shape the tasks of our time and the freedom of our society with value orientation, with expertise, with staying power.

"The dignity of man is inviolable," reads the first sentence in our Basic Law. This is the compass for our efforts to give progress a new direction, a new meaning, a new quality. Progress in the service of all people. "The dignity of man is inviolable", this is also a self-commitment for dealing with people who do not correspond to one's own origin or character, for example foreign fellow citizens, or homosexual people or other groups. For Christians, the dignity of the human being is also the clear demarcation line against radical right-wing and national conservative groups that pretend to defend "Christian occidental values" and in the process create sentiment against people.

Dare a new departure with courage and trust in God – in our lives, in our church, in our country, in global solidarity. This is the message of this Catholic Day. I wish you all a good return home!"

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