Cologne Archbishop Joachim Cardinal Meisner continues to distance himself from the CDU. On Thursday, the cardinal criticized in the magazine "Capital" that the CDU was "increasingly disgracing itself among Christian-minded people". Harsh accusations – listen to Ingrid Fischbach, the representative for church and religious communities of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, in the this site interview on this topic.
this site: Must the Union now remove its "C" from its name after Cardinal's criticism?
Ingrid Fischbach: I think it will take a little more than the Cardinal's criticism to remove our "C" from our party name. But I think the cardinal is confusing things here. He always equates the "C", which stands for Christian, with Catholic. We are a people's party and we are not only Catholic delegates and party members, but we also have Protestant members. And if we think about one or the other political decision, we see that the two large churches were positioned differently.
this site: It's not the first time that Joachim Cardinal Meisner has criticized the CDU/CSU. He has previously sharply criticized the Bundestag decision to expand research on embryonic stem cells, which the CDU/CSU supported. Are the Union and the Catholic Church really drifting further and further apart??
Ingrid Fischbach: First of all, I would like to state that we are not drifting further apart, because Cardinal Meisner's statements also come at regular intervals. I always see them as a little prick, but in the meantime this has reached a "Hoh", where I am also a little sad, because the actual conversation is not sought out. And I am discussing this with many other bishops, including those of the Catholic Church, and I cannot see that we are drifting very far apart.
this site: Nevertheless, there are definitely different approaches, for example, in the protection of life and embryonic stem cell research. Parts of the Catholic Church are also rather skeptical about the Union's modernized image of the family – at the same time, the Cardinal praises the way the SPD in Berlin or the Social Democrats in North Rhine-Westphalia used to deal with it – doesn't the Union lose an important supporter with the Church??
Ingrid Fischbach: May I ask back? Doesn't the church lose an important supporter with the union?? I believe that we are very much dependent on each other in the important questions of ethics, dignity and protection of life – and so far it works really well. We work very well together, we support each other. On the subject of stem cell research, I can only say that the two major churches were not in agreement. And just as I referred to my bishops, as a Catholic, my Protestant colleagues then also referred to their bishop, who was in favor of a release. So you have to be careful. Also with the family image, also with the church on the ground. When I go to the individual congregations and talk to the individual pastors, I see that the reality of life has changed somewhat. And the church would also do well to perceive these new circumstances and to provide answers to them.
this site: Now these clashes between high Catholic dignitaries and the CDU/CSU happen relatively regularly. Can there ever be a point where the two have nothing more to say to each other??
Ingrid Fischbach: I hope not, so from our side I can say: As politicians, we are used to always seeking dialogue, and we are always ready to talk. And I would really be pleased if Cardinal Meisner would invite a large part of his Catholic colleagues from the Bundestag from all over Germany to a discussion. I believe that some things would then also be clarified.
this site: The Archbishop of Cologne also said that, given the current state of the parties, there are none that are particularly close to the church – do they see a danger that parts of the church will withdraw from the political discussion??
Ingrid Fischbach: I don't see that, as the church representative of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, I have a lot of discussions. And that which happens here not publicly, that is, incidentally, that is quite a bit. The exchange is very lively and very important. And I don't believe that the entire Catholic Church, and thus also the German Bishops' Conference, see things the same way as Cardinal Meisner. The talks are taking place, the exchange is there and it is right and important and will also be there in the future.