“There can be no such thing as churchiness light”

Stuttgart's city dean Michael Brock will be bid farewell from his office with a service on Sunday. In an interview, Brock takes stock of his work and explains how he sees his future task as chairman of the Liebenau Foundation.

CBA: Prelate Brock, what is your balance sheet after about two decades as a pastor in Stuttgart?

Brock: For me personally, the year after I was ordained a deacon was a very crucial time. I was able to learn from my pastor back then to see the church as a big family. As a church leader, I have to have ideas and visions, but above all, I have to develop the ability to take people with me. With all the diversity that makes up the church, it is a matter of preserving the commonality. It was my aspiration that 46 parishes, 18 mother-tongue parishes and many institutions of various kinds should see themselves as one city church. The best examples of joint projects supported by all are the Hospice of Saint Martin, the Cathedral Singing School and the House of the Catholic Church. We wanted to be a Catholic church for everyone everywhere.
CBA: Shortly before your departure: Which do you perceive more strongly, the laughing or the crying eye?

Brock: The pain still prevails, I am a little sad. I have enjoyed working and living with many people here. But I'm confident: The friends go with me.
CBA: What excites you about the new task?

Brock: The Liebenau Foundation is a well-positioned social enterprise in the Catholic Church – although this status has been very controversial in recent years, because the Liebenau could also have lived well with being a civic foundation. But the legal dispute is now over. Now I would like to help find out what it means to be a church foundation again. In terms of content, there are enormous challenges: What does care for the elderly mean today and tomorrow, how must care for the disabled develop, in which these people are not sorted out but rather integrated?
CBA: What does recatholicization a la Brock look like?

Brock: There will be no such thing. The Liebenau was never un-Catholic, it just wanted to have a different organizational form. I would like to bring in a biblical perspective: How do we deal with the blind, the lame and the deaf? This is not mystical or remote, but a hard-hitting biblical program. And the Liebenau had never said goodbye to that.
CBA: In contrast to being bound by the Caritas collective agreement.

Brock: A large part of the employees are paid according to these rates. In the meantime, the Liebenau is once again a member of the Caritas Association of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart. She wants to bring there her experience with her house tariffs and look for compromises. But one thing must be clear: Where church is on it, church must be in it. "There can be no such thing as "church light.

Interview: Michael Jacquemain

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