Fr. General Sosa relieves Johannes Siebner of duties. Due to the health problems of Fr. Provincial Johannes Siebner, Fr. General has appointed Fr. Jan Roser, who had been in office since September 2019, as Vice-Provincial, with all the powers of a Provincial. The former Socius Fr. Martin Stark took over the office of Socius again.
Munich/Vienna - Also in the Corona crisis Jesuits want to make pastoral care possible. For that purpose a new newsletter of the Austrian and German Jesuits started from Thursday, March 19th. Under the title "Ignatian Neighbourhood Help" spiritual impulses are to be sent out daily in the morning and on Saturday a proposal for a Sunday house service. In addition, further digital offers from the different communities and institutions of the Jesuits are to be sent, in order to point out not only digital neighbourhood help, but also local offers. "Many people are very insecure at the moment, some of them are sitting at home and cannot go to church as usual - especially in view of the coming Easter surely additionally painful for many. We should show people: we are still here for you - not analog, but digital", explains Pia Dyckmans. The public relations officer of the Jesuits in Germany launched the newsletter together with her Austrian colleague Franziska Fleischer. They report that the Jesuits were immediately convinced of the necessity and made themselves available for this offer within a few hours. In the crisis the order stands together and shows that digital pastoral care is now of particular importance. Every day another Jesuit writes a spiritual impulse for the newsletter "Ignatian Neighbourhood Help". The newsletter is to be sent first until April 30th, 2020. Here you can register for the newsletter "Ignatian Neighbourhood Help" (in German) free of charge.
Frankfurt - On Ash Wednesday the mobile fasting elixir of the Frankfurt Jesuit parish St Ignatius began again. The mobile phone is for many the daily companion - many times a day people look at it. With the "mobile Lenten Elixir" it will vibrate, ring, make itself felt between one and four times more every day during Lent. Via WhatsApp or telegram, messages come in that invite you to take a personal path through Lent. Anyone who has a mobile phone with Telegram or WhatsApp can subscribe to it. The "Mobile Lenten Elixir" is already available for the fourth time, reports Fabian Loudwin SJ, chaplain of St. Ignatius. "Four years ago we sat together in the parish of St Ignatius and talked about Lent. It was clear that in the meantime the mobile phone is for many the daily companion and a tool for communication and organization of the everyday life. Since Lent is in the middle of everyday life and yet a special time, I came up with the idea to use the vibrating, ringing, memorizing of the mobile phone to make Lent more conscious and to offer a possibility to create smallest islands of pause". The mobile fasting elixir was born. During Lent, the mobile phone answers one to four times a day with little thoughts that invite you to take a personal path through Lent. Sometimes there is a text, sometimes a quotation, sometimes a picture. For Loudwin, who produces the Lenten Elixir, the design itself is also a special way to get there at Easter. "For me, too, each year is an experience to set out on this journey." Although the large arch for the whole Lent is already worked out in advance, the short messages are only created during this time and are above all shaped by what is going on in the world, by what the texts offer in the service, by what also shapes Loudwin's everyday life. "So I may have considered in advance that the next impulse will be sent at so and so much o'clock, but something comes up in the parish and suddenly I prefer or postpone this impulse. For me, Lent is a time when I often succeed in getting closer to myself again and closer to my God - in all his shades: it is a preparation for Easter, for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The mobile elixir of Lent wants to invite you to follow this path". Anyone who has a mobile phone with Telegram or WhatsApp can register for the "Mobile Lent Elixir".
Despite all the diversity in the Jesuit parishes they have something in common: the situation has changed drastically everywhere, but the city pastoral could be an answer. The pastors and city pastors of the Jesuits from Austria, Switzerland, Sweden and Germany have met for their traditional common exchange to share experiences and challenges. This time the meeting place was Nuremberg. As always, much time was taken for the reports from the individual locations. Each place has its possibilities, but also its construction sites and challenges. While some have a relatively large amount of money at their disposal, others have to get by with little. Some have a comparatively large number of staff, while others have to rely largely on volunteers. Some locations have a social focus, others celebrate classical liturgies with an orchestra, and still others try to reach new target groups with avant-garde event formats. Sometimes the focus is on young families, sometimes on the upper middle class. In principle, however, it is evident in all places that the situation is changing drastically and that it will no longer be possible to maintain the longstanding in this form. If only because of the alarming situation of the order and the church in general. The Provincial of the Austrian Province, Bernhard Bürgler SJ, also made this clear at the end of the three days. You don't have to be a prophet - a sober look at the numbers is enough to know: we can't "hold" everything anymore. The question is only: Where do we withdraw and where do we remain present? Responding strategically to change A highlight of the three-day meeting was the statement of the Regensburg pastoral theology professor Dr. Ute Leimgruber. She had carefully studied the internet pages of the SJ places and tried to cut a path into the "urban jungle": What does city pastoral mean? What are the possibilities and limits? The church is in a market situation. It is necessary to be present in space and time and to develop a clever, unobtrusive but effective mission strategy. It is necessary to "offer permanent opportunities", says the Regensburg lecturer. You have to be there reliably, knowing full well that fewer and fewer people are coming regularly. But when they do come, they have to find people to talk to. The still dominant parochial territorial system is still taking effect, but less and less. We are still marked by the Tridentine Council: all Catholics belong to some parish and must be "provided for". "Do not try to save the parishes that are going down", was on the other hand to be heard from the round. Instead, according to Mrs. Leimgruber, one could offer a pastoral care of the "third place": In order for people in the cities to be able to live well, they need a "third place" - besides their own home and workplace. This place could be the city churches with their offers. But they must first assert themselves against other providers (e.g. libraries, educational or sports facilities, etc.) and prove themselves. The orders have opportunities here which the diocesan church does not (no longer) have, because the securing of the pastoral basic service already demands all financial and personnel resources from them. Citypastoral must be different Ansgar Wiedenhaus SJ and his colleague, pastoral adviser Jürgen Kaufmann, showed how a city pastoral can look like in a modern city. There are already many Catholic parishes in Nuremberg - there is really no need for another one! Instead, they try to make additional offers which are not available in the standard parish: Fire artists illuminate the feast of Pentecost, a literary Good Friday or artists dancing on ropes in the middle of the nave! There are offers for mourners, memorial services for deceased drug addicts and their surviving dependents, alternative celebrations of saints (St. Patrick's Day, St. Andrews Day, Valentine's Day, Ignatius, St. Nicholas...), blues and soul for Bethlehem instead of classical Christmas mass, and much more. With many formats you can reach people who otherwise would never enter a church, according to the two theologians from Nuremberg. But of course there is also the normal standard program like masses and confessions! And the alternative city tour with the homeless man Klaus on Tuesday evening showed that commitment for the poor is also on the agenda there. He showed neuralgic points in the city centre, like the warming room with automatic cutlery machines, a public toilet, which is used as a sleeping place, or the Sleepin, in which young runaways can stay overnight. Citypastoral of the Jesuits How should the citypastoral of the Jesuits be arranged in the future? Here one did not agree. While Ludger Joos SJ from Göttingen advocates to focus on the empowerment and training of lay people for services in a post-priestly time, Andreas Leblang simply advocates focusing and concentrating on the Mass. "This is and remains the centre of our actions!" Opinions were also divided on the question of what is efficient and what is not: Can one play off the commitment in a school against that of a pastor and vice versa? Should one "sacrifice" large colleges in order to be able to tackle new projects or does the whole Order disappear from the public eye with the institution? With what do we do "the greater the service" for the local Church? Where are the spiritual focal points? These questions could never and probably never can be completely clarified. Many things remain open. One thing is clear: city chaplains are on the pulse of the times like few others. A very exciting field of work! The pastors and city chaplains from Stockholm - St. Eugenia (Fr. Dominik Terstriep SJ), Hamburg - St. Ansgar / Kleiner Michel (Fr. Philipp Görtz SJ), Göttingen - St. Michael (Fr. Ludger Joos SJ), Frankfurt - St. Ignatius (Fr. Bernd Günther SJ and Fabian Loudwin SJ), Frankfurt - St. Canisius (Fr. Manfred Hösl SJ), Munich - St. Michael (Fr. Andreas Leblang SJ), Linz - Alter Dom (Fr. Fritz Sperringer SJ), Vienna - St. Rupprecht (Fr. Alois Riedlsberger SJ) and Lucerne - Jesuit Church (Fr. Hansruedi Kleiber SJ).
10 years of International Understanding Study. The Chair of Practical Philosophy with a focus on International Understanding at the Munich School of Philosophy will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2020. On the occasion of the anniversary, the chair holder Prof. Dr. Michael Reder will discuss "Islam and Religious Freedom" with Prof. Dr. Katajun Amirpur (Cologne) and Prof. Dr. Heiner Bielefeldt (Erlangen) on January 8. We spoke with Professor Reder about the work of the chair, the importance of international understanding in political philosophy and dangers for democracy. Professor Reder, 10 years ago you took over the Chair of Practical Philosophy with a focus on international understanding. How has your research changed during this time? A lot has happened in the past ten years, especially in a global perspective. One can think, for example, of the many conflicts and wars, the flight of millions of people worldwide, the rise of right-wing populism, or the intense debate about the consequences of climate change. All these developments shape the debate on global interrelationships and are therefore more than relevant for the research and teaching of my chair. From the very beginning, the aim of the chair has been to philosophically reflect global developments. On the one hand, this involves appropriate descriptions and the search for convincing terms to describe the changed forms of global coexistence. On the other hand, it also deals with normative and political issues. In this respect, the chair asks, for example, about successful forms of living together. My research has become both more concrete and more general in recent years. More concrete, because I am looking more and more closely at individual global phenomena. More general, because I am increasingly asking how philosophy in its reflections can really do justice to global dynamics. What role does the topic of international understanding currently play in practical philosophy? International understanding was and is not a genuine philosophical concept. The term originates from the post-war period and the concrete search for forms of peaceful coexistence beyond cultural or political rifts. This search in the face of global conflict situations is becoming increasingly important today within practical philosophy. The question of democracy in a globalised world, the order of the world economy, the legitimation of state action in the face of permeable borders - all these are questions that are gaining enormously in importance today. For example, I am currently jointly responsible for a major project on transnational practices of solidarity in the field of migration, European integration and the global textile industry. As different as the subject areas may be, philosophy can be used to show what they have in common, both ethically and politically, and what possible forms of design can take. Islam and its significance in politics and society remains a central theme. This topic has also become particularly explosive due to increased migration. The debate about Islam today is often a crucial issue in Western societies. It is striking that many contributions often present a very undifferentiated picture of Islam. Islamist fundamentalism, political Islam and cultural secular Islam are often not separated but lumped together. This often has disastrous consequences, even when it comes to the topic of migration. What role does political philosophy play in these discussions? Political philosophy can help to draw a differentiated picture. This makes it possible to see the most diverse groups and dynamics that shape the globalized world, even within cultural groups such as Islam. It is only on this basis that a convincing ethical reflection can begin and then be asked how we want to shape the world politically. Political philosophy is of course first and foremost an academic discipline. Especially when it begins to spell out the basic questions of solidarity or democracy globally, it does justice to the current situation. This is a great challenge, because despite its orientation towards the universal, philosophy in the 20th century often thought in terms of nation states. But political philosophy is always also a public matter. That is why I also see myself as a public actor who, on the one hand, interferes in social debates and, on the other hand, seeks cooperation partners who pursue the same goal of international understanding. What does such cooperation actually look like? At the moment, for example, I am planning a project between art and philosophy, together with the artist Lia Sáile and whiteBOX. The intervention EASTERN MUNICH deals with the topics interculturality and interreligiousness in the city of Munich. For this purpose, the floor plans of various past, present and future religious buildings from Munich are projected onto Wittelsbacheplatz in Munich in large-scale video projections. By superimposing the projections and sliding them into one another, the floor plans become not only visible but also "accessible" through their disclosure, thus enabling virtual border crossings. This is practical international understanding, in which, among other things, art and philosophy can be fertilized. What are your plans for the coming years with the chair? Global networking has only just begun. To that extent, the plans are correspondingly diverse. Specifically, I'm working on larger publications to represent future generations and on another on global solidarity as a form of international understanding.
Dresden - After 77 years, 23 books confiscated by the National Socialists return to HohenEichen. "In February of this year I received an e-mail with the subject 'NS-Raubgut'", says Wilfried Dettling SJ, director of the retreat house HohenEichen. He almost deleted the message. Nadine Kulbe of the Saxon State Library - Dresden State and University Library (SLUB) informed him that the SLUB was in possession of books which had been stolen by the National Socialists and which could clearly be assigned to the House of HohenEichen as the owner. These 23 books were now to be "restituted" to the Jesuits. What is Nazi looting? For the legal concept of "cultural assets seized due to Nazi persecution" the term "(NS)-robbery" has established itself. In addition to art collections, books were also affected whose robbery was frighteningly perfectly organized from the very beginning, as recent research has shown. The search for books is difficult: individual collections were often torn apart and distributed to different libraries, where they were incorporated into the holdings without any indication of their origin. Today, the traces in the books themselves are often the only indications of their previous owners, of their "provenance", for example through seals and stamps. There is no legal obligation to conduct research into the loot of public institutions in Germany. However, institutions such as the SLUB have made it their task to check their holdings for loot on the basis of various declarations. These include the "Washington Principles" of 1998 (principles of the Washington Conference with regard to works of art confiscated by the National Socialists) and the "Joint Declaration" of 1999 (Joint Declaration - Declaration of the Federal Government, the Länder and the central communal associations on the discovery and return of cultural property seized as a result of Nazi persecution, in particular from Jewish property). Provenance research at the SLUB Since September 2017, the SLUB has been carrying out a project to identify Nazi loot, sponsored by the Stiftung Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste (German Centre for the Loss of Cultural Property). Nadine Kulbe is one of the project staff members and succeeded in identifying the books from the HohenEichen library, as she explained at a press conference on the occasion of the "Restitution", the return of the 23 books. The books bear a stamp with the inscription "Xaveriushaus Hosterwitz", after the co-founder of the Jesuit Order, St. Franz Xaver, patron saint of Haus HohenEichen. The SLUB does not regard itself as the owner of the objects in its inventory in the case of proven Nazi looting and endeavours to return them to the owners. From HohenEichen to the SLUB and back again Since 1940 the Secret State Police (Gestapo) observed the Jesuit retreat house on the Elbe slope in Hosterwitz. In May 1941 the Gestapo confiscated the house and the Jesuits had to leave HohenEichen. House and property were expropriated in January 1942 as "property of enemies of the Reich" and HohenEichen served afterwards as home school of the Hitler youth. A quantity of books from the library of Haus HohenEichen, which can no longer be precisely quantified today, was given to the Saxon State Library by the Gestapo in 1942 as a gift. Of these, only 23 survived the bombing of Dresden in February 1945; the remainder were burnt in the Japanese Palais, the former seat of the State Library. After the end of the Second World War, the Jesuit Order received back the expropriated real estate in Dresden-Hosterwitz and since then has run the house again as a retreat house. But the books remained in the possession of the Saxon State Library (now SLUB) - until they could be identified in 2019 within the framework of provenance research and handed over as a "beautiful conclusion" to an elaborate work in HohenEichen. The return of the books is a "great pleasure" for the SLUB, according to Nadine Kulbe. The majority of the books are from the 18th century, the oldest being dated 1616. Even though their material value is low, they are still of great non-material value. They are spiritual books, but also travelogues are included - and a copy of the holy legend book, in which Ignatius of Loyola read on his sickbed.