“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.

Much praise, but also criticism The church representative of the SPD parliamentary group, Kerstin Griese, called the letter valuable and praised especially the updating of the term virtue, which sounds old-fashioned to many ears. The churches' criticism of the fixation on the present is also correct. The Evangelical Working Group of the Union (EAK) also appreciates the admonition to reconsider the formative power of virtues. Criticism, on the other hand, came from the Humanist Association of Germany. It is more than annoying when the churches act as guardians of virtue. Paper mainly contains advice to others, he said.

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