‘The Shaping of the World Is Part of the Christian Mission’
Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Söder from the Christian Social Union (csu) is upset about the political power that the churches in Germany are usurping. Last week, he told German newspaper Die Zeit, “Mercy pertains to the dna of Christianity. But the state needs to ensure comprehensible justice. … The state should take care of its affairs and the church of theirs” (Trumpet translation throughout.)
Although Söder is a rather small voice in the political arena, his remarks show how much influence the churches in Germany are gaining.
Though most politicians in Germany are religious, they generally do not seek advice from religion. Nevertheless, the bishops give their input—asked or not. Chairman of the German Bishops Conference Reinhard Marx has attempted to explain to Söder why the state needs the church.
In late September, Marx reminded Söder and other Christian Democratic Union and csu politicians of the meaning of the “C” in their names—the “C” stands for Christian. But what it means cannot be determined by politics or bishops, Marx said, but rather by their obligation to the gospel and Jesus Christ. Consequently, politics need the guidance of religion to fulfill that obligation. Otherwise, in Marx’s view, political parties don’t deserve to carry that name.
Unsurprisingly, Marx vehemently disagreed with Söder’s statements about the separation between church and state affairs. Mercy and justice must go hand in glove, he said. Marx admits that bishops are not politicians, but insists that “the shaping of the world is part of the Christian mission.” Christianity can’t fulfill this mission without help from the state, and the state can’t do it without the church. As long as the people identify with their religion, and politicians with their people, church and state can’t be separated.
It is not the first time that a Bavarian cleric has attempted to return Germany to its Christian roots. During the reign of Bavarian Pope Victor ii (1055–1057), the church, for the first time, stood up against the emperors who had departed from their Catholic roots. This gave the Vatican a renewed, stronger political influence in the empire.
Marx is a bold cardinal who has the backing of both Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict xvi. He is seen as one of the most influential bishops in the Catholic Church and seeks to establish Christianity as the foundation of the whole world. In a speech given this June, Marx admitted that there have been historical time periods “when the Christian faith wasn’t on the right side,” but “in the future we want to be there in the development of a society which is based on values and responsible freedoms” that are based on the church’s teaching.
To understand what is ahead for Europe and the Catholic Church, read Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s article “The Spirit of Charlemagne Is Alive in Europe.”