Cross and anti-tank barrier: The chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, Reinhard Cardinal Marx, and the EKD council chairman, Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, celebrate a service in Hildesheim in March 2017 to mark the anniversary of the Reformation.
Image: Picture Alliance

Farewell to an ecumenism that no longer exists: For the last time, the two large churches are organizing the “Week for Life” together. Why a new sobriety is coming.

AThis Saturday, ecumenism will be laid to rest in Rüdesheim am Rhein. Not the tried and tested common everyday life of Catholics and Protestants in countless communities, but the ecumenism that top representatives of the two major churches in Germany have particularly cultivated for decades: that of great theological visions. She will be buried by the chairman of the German Bishops' Conference and the current chairwoman of the EKD Council. For the last time, Bishop Georg Bätzing and Bishop Kerstin Fehrs are opening the “Week for Life” as an ecumenical event with a joint service in the Sankt Vincenzstift.

Reinhard Bingener

Political correspondent for Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Bremen based in Hanover.

The EKD no longer wants to take part; from next year onwards the week will be what it originally was: a purely Catholic project. This marks the end of one of the oldest ecumenical initiatives after 30 years. Both churches wanted to make a joint “contribution to raising awareness of the value and dignity of human life” in view of the new abortion regulations in Germany. But it was also about people with disabilities, those in need of care and dying with dignity. The motto this year is “Generation Z(future): Together. Different. Good.” The focus should be on young people with disabilities.

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