What is spiritually right will not be found in Corona times in the attitude of being right and knowing better, but it shows itself elsewhere, writes Klaus Mertes SJ in his editorial in the new issue of "Stimmen der Zeit".  "There is a place beyond right and wrong. There we meet." This sentence is regarded as one of the program sentences of non-violent communication. It is attributed to the medieval Sufi Mewlana Rumi. Of course, in an open society, there has to be a dispute about right or wrong. But there are situations in which the usual culture of debate fails because it is too obvious that the challenge is greater than a public interested in quick judgement can even grasp. The legitimate urge for certainty and predictability is then no longer served by reliable projections and forecasts. The avalanche is rolling, and we are all in it. This is also the case in these Corona days: the possibility of calmly weighing up between health policy gains and the economic and social, and in some cases health-related losses that are achieved by the drastic measures is limited. System logics collide which normally tend to work hand in hand - infection protection logic versus fundamental rights logic, protection of the health care system versus protection of the economic system and the social security system, solidarity versus proximity. Issues that until recently were the subject of controversy are now completely relegated to the background - as far as some personnel debates are concerned, one breathes a sigh of relief, and less so as far as other issues are concerned, such as the situation on the Turkish-Greek border or the climate problem. Our problem is now called a) corona and b) the consequences of the measures to contain corona. The billion-euro package to support the economy, which the Bundestag recently decided on, was unanimously approved - except by the members of one party because they considered the astronomically high amount, which will certainly not alleviate all the damage, to be too low. My gut tells me that even twenty or thirty billion more will not be able to fill the hole that has opened up. In Corona times, meanings from outside fail. It just doesn't work with commentary if you are rolling along in the avalanche yourself. Corona time is not a time for comments. A bishop in Switzerland, who speculated about Corona as a punishment from God, should only be mentioned here to name the own shame that one feels as a Catholic Christian in the face of such statements. The secular variant of the philosophy of history comes across as somewhat less unbearable: "The earth is pressing itself against man" (Jogi Löw). Certainly, we will probably have to think anew about globalization, also with regard to what it does to people. Otherwise, those voices that spoke hastily of "crisis as opportunity" have become quieter. One can philosophize about chances if one is socially secured, if one does not bear any responsibility for a medium-sized company, or if one does not have to support home schooling at the PC as a single, working mother, if sports clubs remain closed during the day, children suffer nightmares at night with the thought that they could infect their grandmother, and social contacts outside the own four walls are to be avoided. Even "solidarity" becomes more and more a confusing word, when old people are barked at in discount shops because they don't stay at home, although they are the ones who should be protected by social distancing. "There is a place beyond right and wrong..." I think of this sentence especially when I look at the political leaders. I would not like to be in their shoes right now. How is one to decide right and wrong beyond the place of right and wrong? In spring 2010, when the abuse scandal broke out with full force, I found myself in a place beyond the place of right and wrong. Together with the other people in charge, I held on to the sentence: "Whatever I do, it is wrong. So I'm doing the wrong thing I think is right." This is perhaps similar today to the Chancellor, the Minister of Health and other politically active persons, who are not only the executive organs of the findings of virologists limited to their own areas of responsibility, but also bear the political responsibility for decisions with enormous consequences. An insight similar to that expressed by Rumi is found with Ignatius of Loyola in the letter to Francis Borgias of July 5th 1552: "It may be that the same divine spirit moves me to it (to the one position) for one reason and moves others to the opposite (to the opposite position) for another reason. What is spiritually right will not be found in Corona times in the attitude of being right and knowing better, but beyond right and wrong through empathy, through a sense of responsibility and - let us say it calmly - through prayer. This text appeared in the "Stimmen der Zeit" in May 2020.   AUTHOR: Klaus Mertes SJ - born 1954 in Bonn Father Klaus Mertes SJ studied classical philology and Slavic studies in Bonn after his high school graduation in 1973. After joining the Jesuit order in 1977, he studied philosophy in Munich and theology in Frankfurt. Since 1990 he has been active in the teaching profession, 1990-1993 at the Sankt-Ansgar-Schule in Hamburg, 1994-2011 at the Canisius-Kolleg in Berlin, whose rector he was since 2000. Since 2011 he is the director of the international Jesuit College in St. Blasien. He is also a member of the editorial board of the cultural magazine "Stimmen der Zeit".
Munich/Vienna - Under the title Zeitschrift für Theologie und Philosophie (ZTP) the two renowned journals Zeitschrift für katholische Theologie (ZKTh) and Theologie und Philosophie (ThPh) will be united and continued from 2021. Reason for this step is the union of several Jesuit provinces to the Central European Province on April 27th 2021. The ZTP is a joint project of the three academic institutions in the German-speaking area, which are supported or co-supported by Jesuits: the College of Philosophy in Munich, the Philosophical-Theological College Sankt Georgen in Frankfurt am Main and the Catholic-Theological Faculty of the University of Innsbruck. The editorship is interdisciplinary with Alexander Löffler SJ (Theology/Frankfurt) and Bruno Niederbacher SJ (Philosophy/Innsbruck). The international and interdisciplinary editorial team also includes Godehard Brüntrup SJ, Boris Repschinski SJ, Georg Sans SJ and Oliver J. Wiertz. In the Editorial Board, the six-strong editorial team is supported by proven national and international academic experts* from the fields of systematic theology and philosophy. Through excellent and original German or English academic treatises and book reviews, the ZTP aims to promote research in theology and philosophy through systematic studies in the Jesuit tradition and, in addition, to be a forum for the concrete encounter of theology and philosophy. A corresponding review process (blind peer review) guarantees that the contributions meet the highest scientific standards and are present on the Web of Science. Beginning with volume 143, the ZTP will be accessible in both online and print format from 2021. Jesuits Austria and Germany
Munich/Geneva - Digital teaching-learning methods are the content of a new eEducation course, which Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL) in cooperation with the Catholic University (KU) Eichstätt-Ingolstadt now also offers to local teachers. So far JWL, a work of the new Central European Province of the Society of Jesus, has been offering online courses for young people in refugee camps and conflict areas for many years. "Professionally, for years now, they have been doing exactly what schools are currently facing new tasks - making teaching digital and interactive", explains JWL Executive President P. Peter Balleis SJ the idea of the course. The current corona crisis poses new challenges for schools and teachers in different ways. In view of closed educational institutions, teachers in all educational sectors are called upon to continue teaching with digital means and e-learning. However, many lack experience in dealing with digital learning worlds. In the meantime, schools have many helpful tools at their disposal, but apart from the technical provision, there is a lack of training with regard to the concrete didactic implementation possibilities. In cooperation with students of the master's degree course in eEducation at the Danube University Krems, JWL has redesigned an eEducation tools course for teachers in Europe as well, which - certified by the KU Eichstätt - is now offered to interested parties in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. In four weeks, the course participants learn about different teaching methods and their implementation with digital tools. The focus is on the parallel, direct implementation of what has been learned, in order to make the students' learning more effective and sustainable in the current situation. Therefore, the training program introduces tools and focuses on the direct testing of what has been learned in practice. A first 4-week course of 40 hours started already on 14 April with 150 teachers from different types of schools; 33 have already registered for the second course, which starts on 27 April. At the end of the course, participants will receive a certified certificate of attendance. KU Eichstätt provides professors, lecturers or post-graduate students for the tutorial and professional support of the participants during the course.
How should one celebrate Easter in these days? The churches are closed, the public services are cancelled, there are no more common celebrations. Out of protection against the virus, the life of the church has also come to a virtual standstill. Apparently. Father Lutz Müller SJ reports about his experience of celebrating an interactive service with his congregation despite Corona. Alternatives to the normal service must be created. One such alternative is called: Worship service with ZOOM. Zoom is an app on the Internet that makes a lot possible. With its help I celebrated a church service on Palm Sunday, and it was worth it! I'm not talking about a mass in the stream of the internet, where a priest with a lector and an altar girl celebrates a mass in a small circle, which you can watch without being involved. But I am talking about Zoom, where all the participants see and hear each other; where several participants who want to do so actively participate. It works like this: Ludger Hillebrand SJ and I, Lutz Müller SJ, celebrate a Holy Mass in the community room of the Jesuits in Essen as already on Palm Sunday. In front of us stands the computer, with camera and microphone, which transmit everything. This is a live connection, nothing is recorded that could be looked at again later - as a preserve, so to speak. We have previously distributed the two readings to two participants and the Passion Story to three other participants by email. Five readers participate. All participants have their praise of God handy at home next to their PC, tablet or mobile phone. The intercessions are freely designed, there are no pre-formulated texts. At Zoom, everyone can join in and sing along. One of the two priests leads the ceremony and moderates the process on the screen. Everything is transmitted to all participants via camera on the PC using the 'Zoom' app. Of course, the two priests celebrate the Eucharist and only they can take part in the communion, but everyone is involved and can see what is happening first hand. During the intercessions it becomes especially personal. "I really prayed," a participant later noted with tears. It is an intense experience, which is especially intensified by the fact that all participants see all participants face to face. With ZOOM every screen is shown. This way everyone sees everyone - so you see many more people face-to-face than in a church. With experimental greetings from Essen, Ludger Hillebrand SJ P. Lutz Müller SJ Bernd Wolharn (Cathedral Vicar in the Citypastoral Essen)
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.