Experts for life

With its campaign "Experts for Life," Caritas wants to focus this year on the strengths of the elderly and their potential for society. Debates about life in old age are often truncated and tainted with negative portents, Franz Fink of the Catholic association criticized in an interview with this site on Tuesday.

"We want to contribute to widening the view of women and men in old age," said Prelate Peter Neher, President of the German Caritas Association. More than 80 percent of people in Germany wanted to remain in their familiar surroundings if they needed care, Neher reported at the presentation in Berlin. Cities and communities, as well as neighborhoods and parishes, are not sufficiently prepared for this, he says. Neher called for the creation of an appropriate infrastructure: with easily accessible stores, expanded public transportation and various forms of housing for the elderly. "We should enable a piece of home in the last phase of life," said Neher.The Caritas president also renewed the demand for financial security for people who care for relatives. Analogous to the parental allowance, there should also be an income-based care allowance, Neher said. The career break of up to half a year, which is currently possible by law, can only be afforded by certain income groups.

Spots on television, materials for church services


Important signal

Important signal

Union faction leader Volker Kauder welcomes the… © Michael Kappeler

Important signal

…Appointment of Jan Figel © Olivier Hoslet

Slovak politician Jan Figel is first EU special representative for religious freedom. CDU politicians in Berlin on Sunday welcomed the appointment of the Commissioner for Religious Affairs by EU Commission President Jean Claude Juncker.


“Germany is not the navel of the world”

The Synod of Bishops comes to an end after three weeks in Rome. The Bochum theologian Thomas Soding participated as an advisor. On our site interview, he talks about the results of the meeting – and warns against transferring the situation of the German church to the rest of the world.

Interviewer: As the synod draws to a close, what insights and new experiences will the bishops bring with them on Sunday??


“Urgent need for action”

The two major churches in Germany have urged politicians to act more decisively on reform tasks. The chances of overcoming the current "hard test" have not been exhausted, says a joint word of the German Bishops' Conference and the Council of the Protestant Church in Germany. "The urgent need for action will not tolerate any further omissions," they admonish.

They cite unemployment and demographic trends as major challenges. In the nearly 50-page document, the churches call on citizens to become more involved and are also critical of the role of the media.In the document, the churches urge basic attitudes that go beyond strategies for staying in power. Otherwise democratic institutions would be emptied. Politicians must break their "fixation on the present" and have the courage to pursue a long-term policy. The previous idea that all individual interests harmonized with the common good if they were left to the invisible hand of the market or the visible hand of the state was shaken. Churches see need for dismantling welfare state standards. At the same time, the text states that it is not about sweeping party and politician scolding. The goal is rather a common reflection on the common good. Exercising justice and solidarity must be a common concern of all democrats.

Parties welcome church word as indispensable and kl The major parties have welcomed the churches' democracy paper. SPD chairman Kurt Beck spoke of an "indispensable contribution to the democratic culture" of a free society. CDU Secretary General Ronald Pofalla called the Common Word "important and wise".Beck said the major churches were fulfilling their political-diaconal responsibility with their admonitions. The point that democracy is not a given, but must be constantly reshaped, is very important. Democracy needs strong democrats. SPD leader welcomes churches' recognition of difficulties in securing common good. Pofalla sees the document, "despite all the critical remarks addressed to parties and politicians," as an encouragement for a policy that names challenges and problems and does not obscure them. He said that it was necessary to implement unpopular measures as a matter of responsibility to future generations.