“Exciting time”

Bishop Heinz Josef Algermissen of Fulda can celebrate the 10th anniversary of his appointment on Monday. Celebrating the anniversary of his appointment as bishop of Fulda. In an interview, Algermissen talks about his time as bishop in the cathedral city in eastern Hesse and the situation of the church and society.

CBA: Bishop, what was going through your mind when you received the news of your appointment?

Algermissen: My surprise was soon replaced by a deep trust that the almighty God who called me to Fulda will also help me to take the right steps for the diocese. I still have the confidence that God stands by his promise and accompanies us in a supporting and guiding way.
CBA: And now, ten years later? How do you feel about your episcopate?

Algermissen: Ten years as Bishop of Fulda – an exciting time without any boredom! I was most impressed by the strength of faith and courage of many priests and volunteers who went along with me even on difficult paths and on almost unbearable days; further: the unspoiled laughter of children, the joy and hope of young people. Our faith has been celebrated in these ten years at great jubilees and joyful festivals. Enriching hours!

There has been disillusionment when narrow-mindedness, evil speech and insidiousness have poisoned. I associate the greatest shock with the shame of the sexual abuse of minors by clerics, religious and other church employees. What I learned in
The fact that I had to take note of this in 2010 cost me sleepless nights, made me feel disgusted, and was unthinkable to me until then.

CBA: Against the backdrop of the abuse scandal and in the face of diverse calls for reform in the church, the German bishops have initiated a dialogue process on the future of the church in this country. What are your expectations?

Algermissen: There is an urgent need for a dialogue process on important questions concerning the future path of the church. The term "dialogue", rightly understood, is a central one in essential texts of the Second Vatican Council. However, it is important to note that dialogue is something other than debate and cannot be understood a priori as a means to change. There are topics that can be discussed theologically neither without presuppositions nor with an open mind.

It is self-evident for me that the church must change ever and ever. The faith in the power of the Holy Spirit demands that. However: Another church, which some provoke, is not to be made with me.

CBA: They have repeatedly complained about the loss of values in politics and society. How to counteract this?

Algermissen: It is important that we as Catholic Christians do not fearfully and defensively stake out our boundaries, withdraw into the sacred niche of tradition and lament the general decline in politics and society, but rather confidently go public, ready to "answer to anyone who asks the reason for our hope," as it says in the 1. Peter's letter means. Confessing courage is needed, not indifferentism and cowardly pretence. If we do that, we can be leaven and serve society best.

Interview: Peter de Groot

On the person Heinz Josef Algermissen
Bishop Heinz Josef Algermissen was ordained on 15. Born February 1943 in Hermeskeil near Trier. After graduating from high school in 1963, he studied philosophy and theology in Freiburg and Paderborn. In Paderborn, he was ordained on 19. Cardinal Lorenz Jaeger ordained me to the priesthood in July 1969. After eleven years as vicar in Bielefeld and Meschede, he became pastor in Bielefeld-Schildesche in 1980. From 1974 to 1979 he was also a student chaplain at the Comprehensive University of Paderborn. In 1984 he additionally became dean of the deanery of Bielefeld and in 1991 regional dean of the pastoral region of Minden-Ravensberg-Lippe. As pastor in the predominantly Protestant city of Bielefeld, Algermissen set ecumenical accents. With joint educational and Bible weeks, he contributed greatly to the coexistence of Catholic and Protestant Christians. This work has shaped him. Thus, from 1989 to 1996, he headed the Ecumenical Commission of the Archdiocese of. From 1994 to 1998, he was also executive chairman of the priests' council

. In July 1996, Algermissen was praised by Pope John Paul II for her work. Appointed titular bishop of Labicum (a defunct episcopal see in Italy) and auxiliary bishop in Paderborn, Germany. He received the episcopal ordination on 21. September 1996 by Archbishop Dr. Johannes Joachim Degenhardt. As episcopal vicar, he was responsible for religious and secular institutes and societies of apostolic life. Since 1997 he had also been a diocesan judge at the archbishop's office. He was appointed to the Paderborn Metropolitan Chapter in May 1999. In the German Bishops' Conference, Algermissen is a member of the Liturgy Commission and the Ecumenical Commission. On 20. In June 2001, Algermissen was appointed by Pope John Paul II. appointed bishop of Fulda, and on 23. September inaugurated in his office. In September 2002, he was elected president of Pax Christi.

(Source: Diocese of Fulda)

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