Submission

Peter Beerwerth, Vertreter der Bundesrepublik Deutschland in den Palästinensischen Autonomiegebieten, (l-r), Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, Landesbischof der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Kirche in Bayern und Ratsvorsitzender der Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland, Scheich Omar Awadallah Kiswani, und Kardinal Reinhard Marx, Erzbischof von München und Freising und Präsident der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz, gehen am 20.10.2016 vor dem Felsendom auf dem Tempelberg in Jerusalem entlang. Evangelische und katholische Bischöfe aus Deutschland befinden sich auf einer gemeinsamen Pilgerfahrt ins Heilige Land (bis 22.10.). Foto: Corinna Kern/dpa +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++In Germany there is widespread astonishment about the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, and his Protestant homologue, Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm. The two dignitaries lead a joint pilgrimage of Catholic and Protestant clergy to the Holy Land in order to manifest the spirit of brotherhood and reconciliation between the two confessions. But what they really have manifested is a spirit of submission. Upon visiting the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which today is a Muslim sanctuary, they put off their pectoral crosses at the request of their host, the local Mufti, in order “not to cause offence to the Muslim faithful”.

This is certainly a strange kind of inter-faith hospitality, which requires the other side to remove all exterior signs of their faith before a dialogue can even begin. And it is a sign of weakness, not to say cowardice, to cede to such requests rather than cancelling the meeting. The impression that Muslims must get from this episode is that the German Bishops (and by extension, Germans in general) must be rather unsure of their own religion…

Christ once promised that the gates of Hell will not prevail over the Church. But with leaders like this, it will be difficult.

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