CDU and CSU want to try again in the new government to anchor a ban on organized assisted suicide in law. A ban on assisted suicide is to be enshrined as a project in the coalition agreement. But the SPD is against this plan.

Francis as a man of continuity

Pope Francis © Maurizio Brambatti

Pope Francis is often called a revolutionary. In an interview with the newspaper "Avvenire," he himself emphasizes his continuity with the Second Vatican Council and his four predecessors.

For months, MPs from all parties have been arguing about the future of genetic testing; in 2011, parliament will decide. Today, a group presented its draft: It provides for PGD access in a limited framework. Catholics warn against discrimination against disabled life.

Since the early 1960s, Wurzburg diocesan priest Karlheinz Fruhmorgen was active as a smuggler for the good cause, and remained so until shortly before the fall of communism. Today, the 71-year-old can chat easily about his risky trips to the GDR, but that wasn't always the case.

Separation in catalan?

Demonstration in Catalonia © Emilio Morenatti

The political situation between Madrid and Catalonia ahead of this Sunday's independence referendum is tense. Many Catalan preisters support the vote. German priest Breitenhuber, who lives in Barcelona, comments on this in an interview.

Political tug of war and fear of corona

The situation of refugees stranded in Greece is becoming increasingly desperate. Hardly any prospects, overcrowded accommodations and now also the fear of the corona virus. Some questions and answers about the current situation.

After a four-week hiatus, Benedict XVI. resumed its general audiences for pilgrims and visitors from around the world. In his speech, he also called on believers to inner rest during the vacation.

On 7. July 2007, Benedict XVI said. In the decree "Summorum pontificum" allows masses to be celebrated again worldwide according to the old Tridentine rite. Has the liturgy succeeded in regaining its dignity? Or was it rather a "step backwards," as some critics say?? Assessments of the theologian Thomas Schuller, Professor of Canon Law at the University of Munster



CBA: Professor Schuller, what exactly distinguishes the Mass according to the Tridentine rite from the newer liturgy??
Schuller: A main difference is that in the new liturgy, in addition to the sacrificial character, the meal fellowship of the gathered congregation is emphasized. The priest, who in the Tridentine Mass also stands with his back to the people of the church, is no longer the sole actor. The whole congregation is involved in the celebration of the Eucharist in different ways. Moreover, in the old liturgy there is only oral communion, no hand communion. No female altar servers either. Latin is not the difference. Indeed, one can also celebrate the new liturgy in Latin.
CBA: What were the pope's goals in iing his decree?
Schuller: I see three main objectives: First, he has always castigated abuses of the new liturgy, ever since his days as a professor. He considers the old liturgy less susceptible to abuse. He often lacks proper adoration, concentration on the sacrifice, appropriate musical arrangement, and more.
CBA: And goals two and three?
Schuller: The second one is related to the Pius brothers. Because one of their demands for the dialogue with the Catholic Church was that the old liturgy come out of the mud corner, so to speak. And thirdly, it is also a basic concern of the Pope to make it easier for all friends of the old liturgy to have access to such Masses.
CBA: Has the pope achieved his goals?
Schuller: As far as the dignity of the liturgy is concerned, it has certainly had a salutary effect. Especially in the celebration of the regular newer liturgy, I now see more sensitivity for the question of how to celebrate the Mass with dignity, without excluding the people of God, but also without actionism at the altar and without show character. Perhaps there has also been a general increase in liturgical awareness.
CBA: Are there now many more masses in the old rite?
Schuller: There are still no reliable figures. But I have the impression that it has neither doubled nor tripled. After an initial wave of curiosity, the group of interested people remains very manageable. However, they have now found a real home in the Church again and can attend their preferred form of liturgy more easily than before.
CBA: But it is said again and again that the bishops are setting up unnecessarily high hurdles…
Schuller: Such accusations are mostly groundless. Sometimes the implementation may take a little longer, but you first have to find priests who can celebrate such masses, which the Pope also expressly demands. Overall, however, I see the German bishops dealing with the ie in a very responsible way. The French and Swiss, for example, are much more restrictive.
CBA: You have mentioned some positive impulses, but also the keyword Pius brothers. There were also irritations after the Pope's decree…
Schuller: However. For example, from the Protestant side, but also from the Jews, especially with regard to the Good Friday intercession in the old rite. Overall, many have the impression that the pope pays a lot of attention to splinter groups on the right, while on the left – keyword: liberation theology – he is more unforgiving. Especially with regard to the Pius brothers, china has been smashed there.
CBA: Does the Pope want to go back behind the Council, as critics sometimes accuse him of doing??
Schuller: By no means! With him there is no going back behind Vatican II. That also does not fit his theological profile. But he wants to fill in the gaps that opened up between different groups after the Council. And in doing so, I fear he is sometimes willing to pay too high a price.
CBA: Are directional battles being fought here on the back of the liturgy?? Especially with regard to the Pius Fraternity?
Schuller: The dramatic term struggle sums it up quite well. It is really about the sovereignty of interpretation of the binding force of the decisions of the Second Vatican Council. And many find this disconcerting, not only at the grassroots level, but also among theologians and bishops. And one looks with concern at Rome's talks with the Pius brothers…
CBA: …Talks with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, of which not much is leaking out…
Schuller: That's right. But behind the scenes, one hears again and again of the great concern that the Pius-Brothers could be accommodated too far and that the course set by the Council could be relativized – for example, with regard to religious freedom. And some already fear an open dispute in the church here.
CBA: Is the whole thing really more of an academic debate, or does it also have an effect in the local communities??
Schuller: I observe, especially among the committed Catholics, that they perceive the debates very closely. Many who actively participate in the parish do so out of a kind of conciliar spirit. And they view it with great concern when their ideals are called into question. These particularly active Catholics between 50 and 60 are increasingly turning away in disappointment, and that should make us think. Interview: Gottfried Bohl

With 40 migrants on board, Carola Rackete headed for the port of Lampedusa despite the ban. In the process, she collided with a patrol boat and was arrested. Protestant Council President Bedford-Strohm is "sad and angry".

Coptic Christians around the world celebrated Christmas. In Cairo itself "thank God peaceful", reports Wolfgang Mayer of Hans Seidel Foundation in interview with our site about the central celebration with Pope Schenuda. In Germany, too, the evening was marked by the bloody suicide bombing in Alexandria.