“A christian duty”

Dark clouds between Catholics and CSU © Oliver Weiken

State Committee of Catholics in Bavaria sees democracy in danger. The loss of credibility of state and social institutions has in some cases reached threatening proportions, according to a statement.

This was adopted on Saturday by the autumn plenary meeting of the body in Wurzburg. It recommended several countermeasures, including stepping up the fight against poverty and promoting quality media.

"Treasure of democracy"

The "treasure of democracy" must be rediscovered, the text says. Politics should be oriented to the common good, which should not be limited to a nation state. The human dignity of each individual must be preserved, he said.

The outgoing chairman of the committee, Albert Schmid, declared the commitment to democracy to be a "Christian duty". The 71-year-old former top SPD politician is retiring from office in a few months after eight years in office. On 25. March 2017, the highest elected representation of Catholics in the Free State determines a new presidium.

Need for discussion between Catholics and the CSU

Even after the Wurzburg meeting, there is a need for discussion between Catholics and the CSU, according to leading members of the state committee. On Friday, Bavaria's Justice Minister Winfried Bausback (CSU) had defended his government's refugee policy as "the only coherent answer" in a panel discussion. Bavaria treats refugees humanely and has done more for them than any other state, he said. His statements met in part with massive opposition in the plenum. Bausback is one of the top Bavarian politicians who recently rejected church criticism of the CSU and the state government as exaggerated.

Numerous differences

After the two-day meeting, Joachim Unterlander (CSU), chairman of the social affairs committee in the state parliament and deputy chairman of the state committee, did not want to speak of a "rift" between his party and the Catholic Church, but he did say that the two parties had come to an agreement. However, he recommended that both sides intensify the conversation "at every level".

In Wurzburg, it also became clear that there are differences not only over refugee policy. The Catholics also consider the plans of the Bavarian Ministry of Culture for new guidelines for sex education in schools to be in need of correction in essential statements. For example, requiring teachers to teach different lifestyles side by side "without judgement" would get Catholic religion teachers and schools into big trouble, it said.

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Christina Cherry
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