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.

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??

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.

View of a Catholic public library © Harald Oppitz (KNA)

Bishop Overbeck of Essen welcomes the state's increase in funding for church libraries. Especially in the countryside, they would often be the only ones who made media accessible.

Pope Francis meets Thuringia's minister president Bodo Ramelow © Osservatore Romano / Handout

Stimulated conversation © Osservatore Romano / Handout

After yesterday's cancellation due to illness, the time had come on Friday: Thuringia's Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow was received in audience by Pope Francis. The greatest wish of the left-wing politician, however, could probably not be fulfilled.

A pig and around it humans, who suck at its teats or look into its anus. The "Jew sow" depictions have been synonymous with dull anti-Semitism since the Middle Ages. Is that why they are eliminated?

Food in a garbage can © dpa

When shopping, appetizing-looking fruit or grilled sausages tempt shoppers to reach for them. But much from the shopping cart ends up not in the stomach, but in the trash. This does not have to be, says nutritionist Ute Gomm and advises to buy with a sense of proportion.

Representatives of the Central Council of Jews and the Central Council of Muslims are satisfied after the first top-level talks between the two associations. The meeting was "very critical and very constructive," both sides emphasize – and announce a continuation of the dialog.

Mission far from accomplished

Former Abbot Primate Notker Wolf © KNA

Mission far from accomplished

Abbot Primate Notker Wolf © KNA

To 300.Abbot Primate Notker Wolf flies more than 000 kilometers a year. As the highest representative of all Benedictines worldwide, traveling was part of it. Now his term of office is coming to an end after 16 years.

After more than a decade of negotiations, a Cologne couple has withdrawn its pledge to donate an annex to the Cologne City Museum. In a statement published on Wednesday, the founders justified their withdrawal with the personal attacks against themselves, which had led to an enormous strain.