The “Living In Faith Today” Discussion process

Back in the spring of 2010, the German Bishops’ Conference passed a resolution to establish where the Catholic Church in Germany stands in the run-up to the jubilee celebrating the 50th anniversary of the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council. The discovery of the cases of abuse had made it clear that there was a need to step up the dialogue both within and outside the Church. The bishops decided at the full assembly held in the autumn of 2010 to carry out the “Living In Faith Today” discussion process until 2015. This discussion process was kicked off by a launch event held in Mannheim on 8 and 9 July 2011.


Living In Faith Today - Where do we stand? A main topic of the discussion process. (photo: KNA)

A process of spiritual study is to remain in motion until 2015 to illuminate from a variety of perspectives the question of what challenges are faced by the Church in Her essential models for life, and it is to be established what connection exists with the documents of the Second Vatican Council.

The discussion process is being nurtured through the organisation of events in the dioceses, as well as in supradiocesan initiatives. The Bishops’ Conference has agreed with the Central Committee of German Catholics on two projects forming the core of this process. They are concerned, firstly, with the question of the interrelationship between the ecclesial offices and the tasks to be carried out by priests and the laity, and secondly with the Church’s commitment in today’s world. Overall guidelines for the process were published by the German bishops in 2011 during their spring full assembly in Paderborn in a joint statement entitled “Living In Faith Today”. (You can download this document below.)

The discussion process is planned to last for five years. Milestones on the path include the Pope’s visit to Germany in 2011, the 2012 Catholic Convention in Mannheim, the 2013 National Eucharistic Congress in Cologne, the 2014 Catholic Convention in Regensburg and the jubilee celebrating the 50th anniversary of the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council in 2015.

The German Bishops’ Conference has furthermore defined annual topics corresponding to the Church’s models for life (Diakonia [service], Liturgia [worship] and Martyria [witness]) lending a structure to the discussion process:

  • Living In Faith Today – Where do we stand? (2011)
  • Diakonia: Our responsibility in a free society (2012)
  • Liturgia: Worshiping God today (2013)
  • Martyria: Giving witness to faith in today’s world (2014)
  • Living In Faith Today: Where God is, there is the future (2015)

Discussion forum in Mannheim

Discussion forum in Mannheim: Women writing down the topics of their groups on a flip chart. (photo: KNA)

300 participants, including representatives from the bishoprics, the Central Committee of German Catholics and universities, religious and representatives of associations, came to Mannheim from 8 to 9 July to attend the launch of the discussion process initiated by the German Bishops’ Conference. The participants were unanimous in their evaluation that it had been a “dialogue among equals”. The discussion forum in Mannheim aimed to discuss the question together: “Where do we stand with our faith and as a Church in today’s world?”
The 2012 annual meeting on the discussion process will be taking place in Hanover on 14 and 15 September.


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