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.

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.

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".

Tarry smearing

Logo of the Pax Bank © Rolf Vennenbernd

A paint bag attack on a Erfurt branch of the Catholic Pax-Bank caused damage of 35.000 euros. Motives for the attack are still unclear; a political motive is under investigation by police.

Mother Teresa (1910-1997) would have died on the 26th anniversary of her death. August turned 100 years old. The national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Austria, Leo Maasburg (62), who accompanied the Nobel Peace Prize winner for about seven years in India and other countries, experienced her restless commitment, her humor and her handling of criticism. In an interview with the Catholic News Agency (KNA), the priest and book author remembers the nun from Calcutta.

CBA: Monsignor Maasburg, what was the most fascinating thing about Mother Teresa?
Maasburg: That it was so normal. Her wrinkles and stern lips reminded me of my grandmother. Discipline applied to this generation. She has spoken of herself as a "nothing". If her work was praised, she referred to Jesus and said: "This is his work."
CBA: How did you get to know the nun??
Maasburg: That was in Rome, when I interpreted in English for a Slovak bishop so he could talk to Mother Teresa. Right after the first translation she asked me if I had a car. By the time I said yes, I was already committed to driving three sisters to the airport.
CBA: Mother Teresa was surrounded early on by the air of holiness. But she was also said to be sly.
Maasburg: "Bauernschlau", as we say in Austria, she was certainly. She grasped situations very quickly. If she noticed tension between people, for example, she immediately tried to do something about it. That was done with a light-hearted remark. Or she would seat people differently at events.
CBA: Is it true that she once called US President Ronald Reagan??
Maasburg: This was at the time of the great hunger crisis in Ethiopia. An ecclesiastical relief service had raised a large amount of grain and food, but could not distribute it. That's when she called the White House from a phone booth. Within minutes came the callback. She asked the president for help with transportation. Reagan then sent a few helicopters from a unit stationed in the Mediterranean to distribute them.
CBA: It was recently revealed that Mother Teresa had long struggled with doubts about her faith. How did she deal with it?
Maasburg: It is important to know that she had lived an intense life as a religious for more than 20 years. Novice for seven years, then took temporary and perpetual vows. In 1942, a private vow of devotion was added, in which she promised Christ that she would never refuse Him a request. Then, in the early 1950s, she fell into what in Catholic mysticism is called the "night of the soul". This trial affects people who have a very close relationship with God and now feel a God-forsakenness like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. The inner life of a human being needs redemption as much as the outer world, where hunger, need and injustice are at stake.
CBA: Did you notice anything of this conflict?
Maasburg: Nothing at all. She didn't talk about it with anyone, only with a Dutch priest she met by chance at a U.S. airport in the 1960s. After 20 minutes she asked him to give a retreat to her sisters. In addition, she began a correspondence and poured out her heart to him in 18 letters. St. John of the Cross is said to have gone through this night of the soul for a year and a half; for Mother Teresa it was 35 years.
CBA: What virtues distinguished her?
Maasburg: Kindness. In her environment one felt at home after a very short time. Never felt the need to keep secrets from her. However, her rhythm of life overwhelmed us, the boy. When ours fell into bed completely exhausted after a hard day, she went to the chapel and prayed for another hour or two. When we came to mass at 6 o'clock in the morning, she had already been up since three o'clock in the morning. On the airplane she prayed the breviary, then the rosary, then made her notes on a bundle of paper. She was always in action, with a dogged fidelity to the mission. But she understood when someone could not keep up with her pace.
CBA: How did she deal with criticism? One accusation was that she had accepted donations from dictators.
Maasburg: She was very open to criticism because, after all, Jesus could have said something to her through it. It was important for her to check the statement for accuracy. If criticism was justified, then it was: ask for forgiveness and see to change. If she was unjustified, prayer helped her. As far as donations are concerned, she always saw the individual person. She did not accept gifts from industry, politics, even from the church, but only from person to person. At the same time she acted pragmatically.
CBA: And the accusation of deliberately not improving medical care?
Maasburg: She built the house for the dying in Calcutta because she wanted to give the many people dying on the streets there the possibility to be loved and cared for in their last hours. The institution was deliberately not a hospital. If it was financially possible, the sisters also brought people to the hospital. Mother Teresa only allowed herself to be treated medically when she received arances from doctors that she would be allowed to bring the poor as well.
CBA: How can Mother Teresa be a role model today?
Maasburg: One is attracted by their social activity, the other by their Eucharistic piety. We are still a long way from penetrating the depth of her personality. I am convinced that she will be elevated to the status of church teacher. We have heard from her about 5.400 profound, extensive theological writings for families, children, for theologians, for religious, for politicians, which she wrote during her travels.
CBA: What would Mother Teresa have said about her veneration as a beatified woman??
Maasburg: Surely she would have dropped a witty remark like: "Don't put the candles too close to the pictures."She once stressed to a journalist: 'Holiness is not the privilege of a few, but holiness is the simple vocation for each one of us'". We are all called to be holy."Interview: Barbara Just
Literature reference: Leo Maasburg: "Mother Teresa. The wonderful stories", Pattloch Verlag Munich 2010, 240 pages, 19.95 euros.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has criticized the debate on the mandate for the deployment of German soldiers in Afghanistan. "This mandate is beyond any reasonable doubt under international law or constitutional law," Merkel said in a government statement to the Bundestag.

Important document for international peace or rather paper confession? The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty came into force 50 years ago. It is questionable what binding force the agreement still has today.

A quieter advent season

Bishop Stefan Oster © Lukas Barth (KNA)

Bishop Stefan Oster of Passau says he hopes for positive consequences of the Corona restrictions for the Advent and Christmas seasons. In addition, he gives tips for the organization of the Advent season.