Germany – a mission territory for the religious?


The topic of Germany as a missionary task and opportunity united around fifty students and teachers at St. Augustine’s theological faculty in a heated reflection and exchange during a three day workshop. The Faculty organized these “study days” to include three lectures in the mornings and workshops during the afternoons, as their contribution to the “year of religious life”. Therefore, the title “Missionstand Deutschland – (Von) Den Orden aufgegeben” dealt with the dual perspective of Germany as a mission territory and opportunity.

The first day tried to focus on a contemporary missionary theory and conception where, not surprisingly, Missio Dei and dialogue, as well as hospitality, held a central place. The second day presented a large-scale sociological study of foreign priests (mostly Polish, Indian and Nigerian) and their service in German dioceses. The study concluded that the transfer of foreign missionaries will not solve Germany’s lack of priests. Rather, missionaries will be required as experts in intercultural exchange and as witnesses to plurality – a hard challenge for missionaries as well as for the receiving German communities. The third day discussed the role of the religious in the local church, as a “reserve towards the future” (Pope Francis) – a rather impossible and improbable task.

The “study days” were intended to offer a space for shared reflection and discussion among students and teachers. In hindsight, it was quite a successful initiative and opportunity for clarification and engagement in a country and church in dire need of fresh ideas and commitment.

Fr. Christian Tauchner, SVD