With a pontifical service in Wrzburg Kiliansdom, Bishop Dr. Franz Jung was reminded of the new foundation of the Dizese 200 years ago on Christmas Sunday, November 21. “To strengthen one another, to stay on the path with one another, these are the challenges in the diocese today as well,” said the bishop, according to a press release from the Dizese. In addition to the cathedral chapter, representatives of the Council of Catholics, District Assembly President Erwin Dotzel as well as numerous district administrators and mayors took part in the celebration under the current corona protection regulations.
How Can Church Reach Individuals?
In contrast to the 19th century, today it is not about unifying measures to impart faith, said the bishop. “In the age of individualism and pluralism, the question arises how the church can reach the individual and which means can be suitable for this.” He also stated that the end of the people’s church did not have to mean the end of the church at all. It marks a transition into a new form of being a church, which people of today are tasked with developing.
As Bishop Jung pointed out in his sermon, the impetus for reform came from outside 200 years ago. He critically questioned whether reforms always had to be brought to the church from outside. Doesn’t the challenge lie rather in observing the signs of the times vigilantly and in introducing the necessary changes in good time so as not to be overwhelmed by developments?
“Insisting on one’s own rights will be of little use”
The scularization as a result of the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss of 1803 and the associated expropriation and disempowerment of the church were an unprecedented breach of law. But what use is it to be right when large sections of society no longer understand legal realities and historical connections? “We are in a very similar situation today,” said the bishop, referring to the redemption of the state services of the Bavarian state to the church, which is currently being discussed again with great vehemence. “Insisting on one’s own rights will be of little use if many people no longer see these achievements justified. Their replacement will have to be discussed if one does not want to gamble them away completely in the foreseeable future,” Bishop Jung is quoted further.
After the Scularization, Rome steadfastly opposed the plans to build a German national church. The bishop declared that it was important to keep pointing out the Christian image of man and the obligations that result from it. “This also includes a critical distance from the state in spite of all the loyalty that is required, which was not provided for in the Concordat of 1817 …”
Gesture of blessing instead of a Franconian ducal sword
With the fall of the imperial church, a certain social form of the church also disappeared. Adam Friedrich Freiherr von Gro zu Trockau, the first bishop of the newly founded diocese, was no longer Prince-Bishop. His grave in the right aisle of the cathedral therefore shows him with a blessing gesture of the right hand instead of the Franconian ducal sword as a symbol of worldly power. For his part, the new bishop no longer recruited all executives from the aristocratic upper class. Rather, he relied on priests from the civic milieu who had proven themselves in pastoral care or administration, said the bishop.
One of the greatest challenges was to integrate the Untermain, which previously belonged to Mainz, and the Hammelburg dean’s office, formerly part of the Fulda bishopric. “On the other hand, familiar parts in the Taubertal, Odenwald or Steigerwald had to be ceded to Freiburg, Rottenburg-Stuttgart and Bamberg,” reminded Bishop Jung.
“” In the foreseeable future we will have to part with a lot “
In the course of the Scularization there was an “immeasurable loss of cultural goods”, with buildings profaned or demolished, sacred objects misappropriated or melted down, libraries plundered or sold. “And yet it turned out that the survival of the church did not depend on all these cultural goods.” Today’s believers are increasingly overwhelmed by maintaining the infrastructure. “In the foreseeable future we will have to part with many things that were dear to us,” announced the bishop, according to a press release.