Demonstration of faith

In Germany, hundreds of thousands of Catholics celebrated the Feast of Corpus Christi on Thursday. Read here the summaries of the sermons of Archbishop Zollitsch, Cardinal Marx and others.

Zollitsch warns of growing social antagonisms The president of the Catholic German Bishops' Conference, Robert Zollitsch, warns of a growing gap between rich and poor in Germany. "We must do everything possible to ensure that the gap in our society does not widen," the Freiburg archbishop said in a sermon for the Feast of Corpus Christi on Thursday in Mannheim. He called on politicians, business and academia to "embark on a journey of solidarity and justice".


People should not resign themselves to the fact that the goods of the earth are withheld from some and serve others to increase wealth and influence, Zollitsch added. A society that does not help the weak and has a selfish world order will break up.

At the same time, Zollitsch pointed to a change in social values. "We are witnessing religious indifference and a new militant atheism taking hold," the bishop said. Values that have sustained society up to now are in danger of disappearing," the cardinal asked. The faithful, however, should not lose the courage to face the great challenges of the Church with confidence in God.

In his sermon, Bishop Heinz Josef Algermissen from Fulda emphasized that the decline in the number of participants at Sunday Masses affects the Church more at its core than many had previously suspected. "Participation in the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist is a fine gauge of other participation in church life," the bishop said.

Cardinal Marx urges church to unity and focus on Jesus Christ
In view of the discussion about the future path of faith of the Catholic Church in Germany, Cardinal Reinhard Marx called for unity and concentration on the center of the Christian faith. "Christ must be placed at the center. We will find our identity again if we succeed in doing so," said the Archbishop of Munich and Freising at the Corpus Christi service on the 23rd of December. June in front of several thousand faithful on Munich's Marienplatz square. "If, on the other hand, we double the hopelessness of the world through our own helplessness, then the Church has lost its meaning," Marx warned. The church must be the sacrament of hope for all people and thus also make its contribution to society.

The heated debates of the past months, for example, about the future of Europe, the energy transition, the protection of life and pre-implantation diagnostics showed a broad perplexity, as did the discussion about the church itself: "Who are we as a church?? What we stand for? What is it that keeps us together?", the cardinal asked. Against this background, he said, it is especially important on Corpus Christi Day "that we meet and expose the complexity of our identity". Marx expressly warned against the "great simplifiers," saying that the Church is called to be a "sacrament of unity. "We must finally come back to the point that all of us in the diversity of the Church say: we cannot live without him, without the Word, without Christ himself," the archbishop demanded: "Let everyone examine himself when he makes great proposals, when he speaks against others, whether he is hungry for the Word of God, which is one person: Jesus Christ."Already the apostle Paul reminded us that it is the task of the Church to become one body: "Only in this way can we find the way to our mission."

Ruhr Bishop Dr. Franz-Josef Overbeck: Corpus Christi is provocati
For Ruhr Bishop Dr. For Franz-Josef Overbeck Corpus Christi is not only "a demonstration of the presence of God for all people". "The procession with the Blessed Sacrament is also a provocation for us Catholics to understand ourselves completely from God for the world and at the same time a provocation for all people that God's presence is everywhere," he stressed in his homily.

"The Eucharist that we celebrate today and the monstrance with the body of Christ that we carry through the city show," Overbeck said, that faith and reason are not divisible. Faith testifies that God is greater than all our thinking and therefore also possesses powers of transformation beyond the measure of human imagination. Reason teaches us to be modest with the possibilities of being human, of thinking and acting, and to grant greatness to faith. This is also important for the church, especially in view of the dialogue process that has begun in the Ruhr bishopric. "Everything we think, say and believe must face the mystery of Christ's presence for the Church and the world. This is the critical measure for everything we do together and will also decide for the good of the diocese."

One of the "great dangers of many people" is that they are unable to come to terms with the imperfection of human things, the bishop said. An often understandable but dangerous desire for absolute happiness can be the enemy of the good in everyday life. A sign of this is that many seem to trust the structures of this world, including the Church, more than ethics, morality and the attitude of man. Overbeck: "As Church, this shows us that we are on a new stage of our history through the times, which is to be marked anew by an inner connection with God and thus with the people.

Whatever meaningful structures we develop, they must always be supported and filled by a healthy spiritual core of relationship with God and affection for humanity."It must always be about the living God in Christ, about listening to him and at the same time about the awareness to carry him to the people and into the world, in order to build the necessary framework that is necessary for the church and for the presence of Christians in society. Overbeck: "The ethos, the attitude, the spiritual is the supporting, the structures are the fragile."This can always be experienced in the church as well as in the world. "Everything imperfect calls for the permanent, for God who sustains and supports. In the Eucharist, which makes us capable of change, God is present."


Bishop Dr. Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst: "A Catholic celebration with all senses" Bishop Dr. Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst said in his sermon at the Kornmarkt: "This is Corpus Christi: a Catholic feast with all the senses, so that we can be completely taken by the love of Christ."Corpus Christi shows an inner conviction of the faithful – Christ is present in the changed bread.


Love for Christ is expressed in the joy of beauty, and faith is expressed in the freedom to celebrate. Flags, incense, bells, candles and prayer postures, such as kneeling, are external actions that show an inner attitude, he said. "Faith needs form so that it can form people from within. Prayers need gestures so that the body feels the soul. This is liturgy: praying with the whole body so that the heart gets moving," said Bishop Tebartz-van Elst.

In the monstrance the believer sees the devotion of God to man, which is realized in Christ. "Where man lets himself be looked at by God in prayer, he gains prestige. Corpus Christi is the expression of a faith that brings the whole world into the face of God."In the reverence of God the mutual esteem of humans is revealed. Corpus Christi shows that the reverence for God, the source of respect for each other is. "What we celebrate and how we celebrate shows how much our world needs Christ. Therefore we carry it by our city."

Prince: Faith protects against ideology Christian faith protects against ideologies, according to Rottenburg-Stuttgart Bishop Gebhard Furst. Unlike some promises of "our glaring modernity," which often collapse very quickly, faith in Christ is a "supporting foundation of human existence," said Furst at Corpus Christi in Rottenburg Cathedral.


The bishop recalled his predecessor in office, Joannes Baptista Sproll (1870-1949), who as a "courageous witness of faith" had turned against the terror regime of the National Socialists. "We can learn from this witness of faith how much faith in the God of life can make us strong for standing up against terror and injustice," said Furst.

In Bamberg, Archbishop Ludwig Schick emphasized that Christian life and thought belong in the public sphere. Like no other feast, Corpus Christi shows that Christianity must not retreat into the sacristy. Christians would have to be visible and allowed to participate in view of their institutions such as kindergartens, schools and charitable institutions.

Passau Bishop Wilhelm Schraml called on faithful to stand up for life. In society, the consensus on the image of man is in danger of breaking down. Debates in recent months on dignity, the right to life and the protection of human beings at the beginning and end of their lives showed that. Christians should not be indifferent to this.

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