Celebration and announcement of the times

Celebration and announcement of the times

For its 100th. Anniversary, German Catholic Day comes to Leipzig. Quite deliberately, one wanted to celebrate the round birthday not in one of the Catholic strongholds, but in the midst of the secularized society.

Wroclaw, Prague and Gdansk, Vienna, Strasbourg and Metz: German Catholic Days have taken place in all of these cities over the past 170 years. At the end of May, Leipzig expects the 100. Catholic Day. To mark the occasion, Munster church historians Hubert Wolf and Holger Arning have published a book on "100 Catholic Days" with the Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.

History of the Catholic Days

In 100 short articles, they describe, for example, the great importance of the meetings for the development of social legislation and the social market economy, as well as the anchoring of democracy in the Catholic part of the population. The Katholikentage were the stage for the confrontation of the Catholic laity with the Prussian state, Bismarck or Hitler. The inner-church conflicts about the infallibility of the pope, sexual doctrine or abortion and celibacy are also outlined.

The history of the Catholic Days begins in 1848. In the year of the German Revolution, German Catholics also claimed civil rights such as freedom of assembly, association and the press, freedom of conscience and religion. On 23. In March 1848, the "Pius Association for Religious Freedom" was founded in Mainz. Six months later, the first general assembly of newly founded Catholic associations met there. This meeting went down in history as the first German Catholics' Day.

In 1868, the Bamberg Catholic Day decided to form the "Central Committee of German Catholic Days," which in the future would prepare the "General Assemblies of Catholic Associations". Since the 1950s, this body has called itself the Central Committee of German Catholics.

The 70s of the 19. The twentieth century was, moreover, marked by the Kulturkampf and the inner-church dispute over the dogma of the infallibility of the pope decided by the First Vatican Council. The assembly rejected any criticism of the dogma of infallibility "with disgust".

Temporary suspension of the Katholikentage meetings

During the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 as well as during the First World War – from 1914 to 1920 – and during the entire Nazi period, there were no Katholikentage (Catholic Days). In 1933, the meeting in Gliwice, Upper Silesia, was canceled because Prime Minister Hermann Goring had made a "declaration of allegiance" to the Fuhrer and the Reich a condition. It was not until 1948, three years after the end of the war, that Germany's Catholics came together again on a large scale – and 100 years after the initial impetus, they met again in Mainz.

Since 1950, a Catholic Congress has usually been held every two years – alternating with Protestant church congresses and interrupted by the two joint Christian meetings, the Ecumenical Church Congresses of 2003 in Berlin and 2010 in Munich.

A "festival of encounter" and a reflection of the Catholic Church in Germany

To this day, Catholic Days are regarded as a "festival of encounter" and as "days of faith," but also as a statement of the times, a snapshot and a reflection of the Catholic Church in Germany. There were Catholic Days marked by inner-church disputes: 1968, for example, was regarded as the most turbulent Catholic Day of all time, in the wake of the Second Vatican Council and the student unrest. There were even demands for the resignation of the pope, who shortly before had published the encyclical "Humanae Vitae" on sexuality, the pill and contraception.

In other years, the meetings revolved around political ies: the peace movement and anti-nuclear protests were also booming among Catholics in the 1980s. After that, the consequences of the German reunification dominated. In 1990, the 90. Meeting held in the still divided city of Berlin. Shortly thereafter, Dresden was the venue in 1994 and addressed the great challenges of unity. In Saarbrucken in 2006, the motto "Justice in the sight of God" was still a socio-political focus.

Since then, the meetings have focused more on the inner church: With the slogan "Dare a new departure" for Mannheim 2012, the inner-church reform debate about the abuse scandal, church finances and parish reforms had finally returned to the center of the Katholikentage.

Info: Holger Arning, Hubert Wolf: "One Hundred Catholic Days. From Mainz 1848 to Leipzig 2016."With a foreword by Alois Gluck and an outlook by Thomas Sternberg. 256 pages with 131 illustrations.

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