Chaklas in Karachi, how to lift

The seven bodily works of mercy

The bodily works of mercy

The physical works of mercy Where do the works of mercy come from and why are there seven?

The physical works of mercy Where do the works of mercy come from and why are there seven?

The patriarchal fathers already experienced the mercy of God as the gentleman of the Lord, and then the whole covenant people, who were saved by God in the desert from hunger and thirst. God does not withdraw his mercy from the house of Israel, who fall away from him again and again. God shows himself merciful to the weakest. “He procures justice for the oppressed, he gives bread to the hungry; the Lord frees the prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind, he lifts the bowed down. The Lord protects strangers and gives orphans and widows their rights ”(Ps 146: 7-9).

For Jesus, God's mercy is not tied to any previous performance, as he makes clear, for example, in the parable of the merciful Father (Lk 15: 11–32). But if one has experienced mercy in oneself, one's own merciless behavior does not remain without consequences (see the parable of the merciless believer: Mt 18: 23-27). Logically, the Flemish master from Alkmaar around 1505 put Christ in the scenes of the Seven works of mercy set (see an excerpt on the right).

Jesus formulates a catalog of the works of mercy within a judgment speech that culminates in the words: “What you did for one of the least of my brothers, you did it to me ... What you did not do for one of these least, you did it to me not done ”(Mt 25:40, 45).

The church writer Laktanz (died 320) added these six works - feeding the hungry, watering the thirsty, taking in strangers and the homeless, clad the naked, visiting the sick, helping prisoners (Mt 25: 35-36) - with reference to the Book of Tobit (1:17) ) the burial of the dead was added as a seventh work. The classic number seven connects the 3 as the number of the self-contained, absolute, with the 4 as the number of order and completeness. 4 + 3 thus stands for the fullness and perfection par excellence, in the New Testament finally through the seven horns and seven eyes of the Lamb, which signify his omnipotence and omniscience (Rev 5: 6).

The works of mercy were, on the one hand, applied concretely and, on the other hand, subjected to a spiritual reading. The church father Augustine (died 430) already made a distinction between “benefits for the body of the neighbor” and “benefits for the soul of the neighbor”. In the Middle Ages, the spiritual or spiritual works of mercy were codified in a catalog of seven: teaching the ignorant, advising those who doubt, comforting those who mourn, correcting sinners, forgiving offenders, bearing annoying people, praying for the living and the dead.
At the beginning

Food for hungry people

At the beginning

Eating hungry peopleEncounter, help, closeness “It's good that the poor are given something to eat here,” says young Jonas from Kaufbeuren. That's why he supported the warming room of the sKM Kaufbeuren / Ostallgäu with a special idea. His example shows: the hungry can eat - anyone can do that, no matter how old you are.

Eating hungry peopleEncounter, help, closeness “It's good that the poor are given something to eat here,” says young Jonas from Kaufbeuren. That's why he supported the warming room of the sKM Kaufbeuren / Ostallgäu with a special idea. His example shows: the hungry can eat - anyone can do that, no matter how old you are.

How books become sandwiches

Jonas (right) brought the proceeds from the sale of his little book with mother Marion and siblings Lilly and Jacob to the warming room. Photos: Sims
KAUFBEUREN - The SKM Kaufbeuren / Ostallgäu covers the maintenance of its warming room from donations. The pupil Jonas Habermeier wrote a booklet, had it printed with the support of his parents and is now selling it for the benefit of the warming room. Over 500 euros have already been raised.
“There are poor people and you can help them. We are grateful that we have a roof over our heads and that we are fine, ”says Marion Habermeier, explaining the attitude to life that she and her husband want to convey to the three children Jonas, Lilly and Jacob. Jonas had already heard about the warming room in kindergarten. The elementary school pupil now decided to write a story about it. In it he tells the adventurous everyday school life of "Mia".
Everything is fictitious, says Jonas. His parents took care of the reproduction, initially by hand. Since the first copies quickly found buyers who were happy to donate to the warming room, the family had a new edition printed at their own expense at a local printer.
Jonas collected around 500 euros and handed it over to the manager of the warming room, Gabriele Boscariol. "We depend on donations," explains Boscariol. The local association of the SKM (Catholic Association for Social Services) receives grants from the diocese and the city for the personnel costs of the permanent employees. The other personnel expenses as well as the operating costs for the historic building in the old town and the necessary food, a total of around 30,000 euros per year, have to be met from grants. Little Jonas' action inspires the team and fills them with gratitude. "It is good that the poor are given something to eat here," says the boy himself: "The main thing is that they are helped."
Homeless and needy people can get a hot coffee or a soft drink for a few cents in the warming room on Crescentiaplatz. Tea and sandwiches are distributed free of charge. Around 120 regular guests come regularly. The helpers observe that the number of visitors increases significantly from around the middle of the month. More than 20 volunteers between the ages of 25 and early 70 are involved free of charge in their free time in the warming room, where they take on the counter service, i.e. making coffee and tea and making bread rolls.
The number of young guests between the ages of 18 and 25 has risen sharply. Homeless people can also shower and do their laundry in the facility. In addition, people come to escape loneliness. “The warming room is like my living room, almost like a family,” describes a homeless person. At the same time, for many of those affected it is a “protected space” that means being “away from the street” for a few hours. "Here are lovely, nice people who take you for who you are," emphasizes a 55-year-old. A 46-year-old from Kaufbeuren has been going to the warming room regularly for 18 years. In addition to the snack, he appreciates the conversation.
Instead of “hanging out” in the city, a 22-year-old visits the meeting place. She has a permanent place of residence, but the financial means are often insufficient. She knows that, if necessary, she could accept the offer from the specialist advice center also located in the house. The social pedagogues provide support with forms, for example
or authority issues.

Elke Sonja Simm / Catholic Sunday newspaper
Jonas (right) brought the proceeds from the sale of his little book with mother Marion and siblings Lilly and Jacob to the warming room. Photos: Sims
At the beginning

Give drink to the thirsty

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Giving thirsty people a drinkFountain for Bolivia In the remote mountain villages of Bolivia, the supply of drinking water is a major problem. Hanne Atzinger from Wettenhausen has traveled there many times to provide the villagers with advice and assistance in building wells.

Giving thirsty people a drinkFountain for Bolivia In the remote mountain villages of Bolivia, the supply of drinking water is a major problem. Hanne Atzinger from Wettenhausen has traveled there many times to provide the villagers with advice and assistance in building wells.

In search of the source

"Todos trabajan con mucho cariño - everyone works with a lot of love!" This sentence is often used in the drinking water projects in Bolivia that Hanne Atzinger from Wettenhausen organizes and looks after. To do this, she often drives to lonely mountain villages in the Andes with no electricity or water supply.
Some are so poor and starved there that they first have to provide the people with basic food so that they can work on the construction of water pipes. Then Hanne Atzinger looks for a source. Once it is found, a technician - with the support of a few workers from the respective location - installs a barrage and a filter chamber.
Hanne Atzinger orders the material for this, for example reinforced concrete, in La Paz or in Chile. Then pipes are carried into the mountains. Donkeys can help up to a certain point.
The aid worker orders the donkeys from news runners in the Andes, who also replace the newspaper there. Sometimes she needs 100 donkeys, sometimes 50. The pipe girders have to cover around twelve kilometers between the mountains and the village. One person works from each household. The children, especially the 12 to 14 year old boys, help too. With her technician, Hanne Atzinger trains young people in the technical processes in connection with the water supply. When the drinking water project is finished, there will be a party. The school children stand in line and greet Hanne Atzinger. Then they recite poems and sing songs. The mayor and the school principal give acceptance speeches. The adults make music on drums, flutes and twelve-string guitars. Hanne Atzinger performs folk songs from her homeland such as “Kein Schöne Land”. Then she symbolically blesses a cup of water and everyone prays the “Our Father”.
In terms of area, Bolivia is about four times the size of Germany, but only has a tenth of the population of Germany. Hanne Atzinger's ties to Bolivia began in 1990. At that time, she was leading a senior citizens group that sent baby blankets that they had knitted themselves to Israel.
In the same year a landslide occurred in the provincial town of Camargo in Bolivia, in which many people were killed or homeless. So a friend asked if Hanne Atzinger's group could also send blankets to Bolivia. Contact with the German Father Otto Strauss was established through Sister Goretti Hagg, who ran the Hospital for the Poor in Camargo. Its work also includes drinking water projects.
Hanne Atzinger was born in Franconia, but grew up in the Dominican boarding school in Wettenhausen. The retired teacher is married and has two grown children. In addition to the drinking water projects, she is also involved in other social projects in Bolivia. Sometimes she brings discarded jerseys from Swabian football clubs to Bolivia. After all, every Bolivian village needs a chapel, a school and a soccer field, Father Otto knows.

Martin Gah / Catholic Sunday Newspaper
At the beginning

Take in strangers

At the beginning

Hosting strangers "I was a stranger and homeless ..." Hundreds of thousands of refugees from crisis areas such as Syria or Iraq have come to Germany this year alone. Most of them don't speak a word of German, they feel strange and isolated. It is our task to approach the new fellow citizens and to integrate them, says Nicole Seibold, pastoral officer in the diocese of Augsburg.

Hosting strangers "I was a stranger and homeless ..." Hundreds of thousands of refugees from crisis areas such as Syria or Iraq have come to Germany this year alone. Most of them don't speak a word of German, they feel strange and isolated. It is our task to approach the new fellow citizens and to integrate them, says Nicole Seibold, pastoral officer in the diocese of Augsburg.

Ehap is right in the middle

"I was a stranger and homeless, and you took me in ..." says Matthew (Mt 25:35). I immediately think of Ehap, the little Syrian refugee boy. Since the beginning of the year, the little guy has been sitting in this school class every day, doesn't understand a word of what's going on around him, is alien to the country and culture and actually completely isolated.
I notice how difficult it is for me to somehow integrate him into my lessons, speechless, so to speak, to get him a little out of his isolation. “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink… ”At first Ehap didn't have a lunch with him. But how do I know if he's hungry and if he even likes pretzels?
Now that so many people come to our country with terrible experiences from a world that is so distant to us, this Gospel becomes a challenge, a mission. I am becoming more aware of this every day. Although I, as I believe, at least try to live a life according to the gospel, I feel a great helplessness and rather find myself on the side of those who did not help Jesus.
Perhaps you feel the same way - you simply lack the courage to overcome your shyness and just go to the asylum seekers' house, although you cannot communicate and do not know what to expect there. It is better to leave these things to someone in charge, who hopefully are somewhere. And if not?
So far I have learned a lot from the children, Ehap's classmates. They are not afraid or shy at all. They just go there: “Ehap, eat?” And make it clear to him with clear gestures what they want to say to him. And Ehap understands. Not always, but more often. The little Syrian can already say a few words himself. And he's right in the middle of their community. It just belongs to it because it is there now. Without anyone thinking about it too much.
The indignation of some adults makes me thoughtful that the gym and school camp will be left to asylum seekers for this winter and will not be available for sport and leisure. In the past, as our grandparents told us, every family with a room had to take refugees into their house and share the kitchen and bathroom with them.
Sometimes I try to imagine what if it were that time again today that we had to take refugees into our house. I hope and pray that we would open our doors wide to receive Christ in this stranger.

Nicole Seibold / Catholic Sunday newspaper
To the beginning

Dress up naked

At the beginning

Dressing naked like Saint Martin Because he gave half of his coat to the freezing beggar, Saint Martin is also a role model for many children. In the “Meins wird deins” campaign, children in the diocese of Augsburg do the same as the saint and donate clothes that they no longer need.

Dressing naked like Saint Martin Because he gave half of his coat to the freezing beggar, Saint Martin is also a role model for many children. In the “Meins wird deins” campaign, children in the diocese of Augsburg do the same as the saints and donate clothes that they no longer need.

"Mine becomes yours"

Gregor Uhl from the Hope Campaign, Stefanie Rusch, director of the St. Thomas More Kindergarten in Neusäß, and Pastor Ulrich Lindl (from left) start the “Mine becomes yours” campaign. Photo: Mitulla
Children like to share, as they prove every year in the campaign “Meins wird Deins” of Aktion Hope. In 2015 the sales proceeds will benefit a project partner in Bolivia.
In 2015, the 13th time the clothes collection campaign organized by Aktion Hope and the children's ministry “Die Sternsinger” with the subtitle “Everyone can be St. Martin” took place. She calls on children and adults to follow the example of St. Martin and to provide what others may need. However, the items will not be sent. They come to the Vintys second-hand shops and fair trade shops of Aktion Hope in Augsburg, Erlangen, Ettringen, Munich, Nuremberg and Passau.
The proceeds from the sale and the donations will go to a project in El Alto in Bolivia. "In the foundation's kindergarten, children from indigenous families receive educational support and prepare them for school, linguistic understanding is improved with creative and playful offers," explains Gregor Uhl, managing director of Aktion Hope. The foundation operates two other centers, which are run by 215 children and young people are visited and does social work.
Pastor Ulrich Lindl, Head of Department III - Church Life, calls on people to rediscover the culture of sharing with children. In view of the current influx of refugees, he points out that most people leave their homes through rural exodus. “In Bolivia, too, many rural residents are drawn to the capital,” he explains. Because the rents there are very high, a city is emerging in front of the city where most children are left to their own devices and a third do not go to school.
This is brought closer to the children in the Catholic kindergarten St. Thomas More in Neusäß. “We have been running the Meins wird Deins campaign for four years in the crèche, kindergarten and after-school care center, and we design it differently according to the age of the children,” reports director Stefanie Rusch. The small donors can tell a story about their item of clothing.Then the boxes are packed together. Working materials for schools and day care centers can be downloaded from the website www.aktion-hoffnung.de, brochures and posters can be ordered.
The clothes boxes are accepted in all second-hand shops and in the One World Center of Aktion Hope in Ettringen. If you have no way of financing the postage to Ettringen, you can create a free parcel label on the Internet. Many groups have their parents and grandparents sponsor the costs or organize campaigns, the proceeds of which are used to pay the postage.
“All of the proceeds go to the project in Bolivia,” emphasizes Gregor Uhl. Last year, schools in the Philippines were supported with 19 570 euros so that the children can get a regular and healthy meal.

Roswitha Mitulla / Catholic Sunday newspaper

Gregor Uhl from the Hope Campaign, Stefanie Rusch, director of the St. Thomas More Kindergarten in Neusäß, and Pastor Ulrich Lindl (from left) start the “Mine becomes yours” campaign. Photo: Mitulla
To the beginning

to nurse

At the beginning

Visiting the sick Restless worker for love It all began in 1960 when Ruth Pfau happened to visit a colony of lepers in Pakistan. The German nun was deeply impressed by the dire fate of the outcasts. The fight against the deadly disease leprosy should become her life's work.

Visiting the sick Restless worker for love It all began in 1960 when Ruth Pfau happened to visit a colony of lepers in Pakistan. The German nun was deeply impressed by the dire fate of the outcasts. The fight against the deadly disease leprosy should become her life's work.

Ruth Pfau found her calling in a leper colony

In the middle of her life, behind the main train station in Karachi in Pakistan, it all started in McLeod Road, a boggy slum in the city of millions. If you ask the nun and leprosy doctor Ruth Pfau today about the secret of her life, she still tells this story: How she had to interrupt the flight to India because of a visa problem and was taken by a sister to the leper colony, where she found the mutilated leper beggar Mohammed met Hassan, who crawled into the wooden shed on all fours and accepted his fate resignedly: “I suddenly knew: Here, here it had to happen. How? Indifferent. Now! It was like meeting your great love: once and for all. "
That was in 1960. Leprosy, that curse that seemed to lie on people, is now under control. It is the life's work of these Germans that made Pakistan an honorary citizen. She is not just a doctor devoted to the poorest of the poor. She is also a health manager and charismatic teacher, intellectual and mystic, human rights activist, engaged in dialogue with Muslims and as a staunch pacifist in peace work, for which she received the highest international awards, including the Magsaysay Award, the “Asian Nobel Peace Prize”.
Almost unbelievable: As a Catholic nun of the Society of the Daughters of the Heart of Mary, she held the rank of State Secretary for Health of the central government. When Afghan refugees brought leprosy back into the country across the border in the north, they set up a health service underground in the Russian-occupied country. Today Ruth Pfau supports the aid for the severely disabled throughout Pakistan. She gave up the management of the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Center (MALC) hospital she founded last year. Now she takes care of the disabled nationwide.
Pfau has launched a new project in the MALC's outstation in Malir, a district of Karachi. The team visits the severely disabled in the slums, people with progressive muscle paralysis, who no one else cares about. Ruth Pfau meanwhile holds office hours. After a short time the room is full: an old woman with dementia whom she has known for years as a leprosy patient, to whom she gives time and attention. A mother with her severely disabled child. The stream does not stop. In between two healed lepers. They show her the wounds on her crippled feet. You don't have the right shoes. That doesn't leave Pfau in peace. “Have you already made contact with a shoemaker?” She asks the manager in charge. Yes, but that wouldn't have worked. She is dissatisfied, asks. You can see how it works in her.
When asked whether all of this is not a drop in the ocean, she agrees. Nor does it have an answer to suffering. “Maybe it makes no sense to do something. But doing nothing, "she says, would be even more nonsensical." So she continues. Despite her age, despite all the ailments she knows too.
If she wasn't really convinced that love was the last word, despite all appearances, says Ruth Pfau, then her own life would be at stake. Because then everything would have no sense. “Maybe I'm wrong,” she adds. And what if that really were the case? “Then I was just unlucky.” And she asks back: “Would that also make love pointless? No! Not even the compassion that binds us. And not even the small gestures, even if they don't work, not the help we gave each other to make life more bearable. ”And the succinct conclusion of this amazing woman:“ That's why I'm going on. ”
Back at the MALC, Pfau once again approaches Salam, the Leprosy Field Officer responsible for Greater Karachi: How will he deal with the sanitary shoes? How about if you cooperated permanently with a shoemaker in the outdoor station? Can you make an appointment now to find a solution? He's gone for the next few weeks! But on the Monday after his return? A little annoyed, Salam pulls out his appointment book and nods. You also have to be able to annoy. Not only the devil, but also God is in the details. And there will be a solution. So that for some life becomes easier and more bearable. There is a well-known saying: “You can recognize a mystic by the way he ties his shoes.” That means: how he behaves in everyday life and in very inconspicuous things. Perhaps one could also modify this saying: You can also recognize a true mystic by the fact that he feels where others are being pushed. And the fact that he helps.

Rudolf Walter / Catholic Sunday newspaper

To the beginning

Visiting prisoners

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Worrying about prisonersKeys to locked doorsSome people go astray and end up in court and behind bars. This man is there for the convicts and speaks to them about their fears and worries: Pastoral advisor Michael Barnt looks after prisoners in the correctional facilities in Augsburg and Niederschönenfeld.

Worrying about prisonersKeys to locked doorsSome people go astray and end up in court and behind bars. This man is there for the convicted and speaks to them about their fears and worries: Pastoral advisor Michael Barnt looks after prisoners in the correctional facilities in Augsburg and Niederschönenfeld.

An interview with a prison chaplain

Mr. Barnt, could you please describe your résumé to the readers.
Born 50 years ago in Radeberg, I grew up in the diaspora and found a home in the church from an early age. I was the only Catholic at school and had to face requests from my schoolmates. This brought me to a more intensive preoccupation with the faith and later led me to Erfurt, where I studied theology. After completing my studies, I went to Jerusalem for a year to deepen what I had learned on site, that is, at biblical sites. It was there that I met my wife, who brought me to Augsburg. Here I first trained as a carpenter before I returned to the community service more than ten years ago.

What made you decide to become a pastor?
Already during my studies I dealt with existential questions of people and the possibilities of finding an answer to them. At that time it was Viktor E. Frankl who aroused my interest with his logotherapy. But just as crucial were the encounters with different people, be it the strangers who live quietly day after day as God pleases, or the encounter with the Jesuit priest Hugo E. Lassalle, who made Far Eastern methods of meditation known to us Christians Has. And then the voice of your own heart must have made the difference, or, if you will, call it a calling.

Why did you decide to become a pastor in a correctional facility?
After more than ten years of work in youth work and in various parishes and parish communities, it was my wish to try something new again. I would not have suspected that I would “end up” in a prison. But I gladly accept this challenge and realize that pastors are needed here. I was welcomed benevolently in both the Augsburg prison and the Niederschönenfeld prison.

How do the prisoners react when you approach them, when you speak to them?
At first it is not that easy to speak to, because at the moment I first have to learn myself which key unlocks which door, and then there are prisoners who hardly speak German. But when these hurdles are overcome, most of the prisoners are very grateful that there is still someone with whom they can talk about anything.

Can you already report negative or positive experiences with prisoner care?
At the beginning of my ministry I accompanied Father Stephan with my guitar to the church service in prison. I was curious what to expect. When the prisoners all moved into the church, I was completely surprised at how many people attended the service. Well, I thought, not all of them have deep religious reasons for this. But a few days later I was surprised when I got into conversation with a prisoner and he told me that he would find peace and reflection during the service.

Interview: Manfred Arloth / Catholic Sunday newspaper

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Say goodbye to the dead with dignity

At the beginning

Saying goodbye to the dead in dignity Believing in the resurrection From traditional burial in the ground to cremation in forests, on the high seas or even in space: burial culture is becoming more and more diverse. Liturgical scientist Winfried Haunerland, advisor to the Commission for Liturgical Issues of the German Bishops' Conference, explains how the possibilities of burial are to be assessed from a church perspective.

Saying goodbye to the dead in dignity Believing in the resurrection From traditional burial in the ground to cremation in forests, on the high seas or even in space: burial culture is becoming more and more diverse. Liturgical scientist Winfried Haunerland, advisor to the Commission for Liturgical Issues of the German Bishops' Conference, explains how the possibilities of burial are to be assessed from a church perspective.

Dignity beyond death

Professor, now more than half of the burials in Germany are cremations. Burial, which has been the defining form of burial for centuries, seems to be going out of fashion. What does the church say about this?
The relationship to the cremation has changed significantly. Anti-religious attitudes and ideological motives, which played a major role in the 19th century, are no longer decisive today. Because cremation was initially understood as a confession that there would be no resurrection of the dead, the church had considerable reservations and forbade Catholics to cremate until the 1960s. In the meantime, however, the reasons why people opt for cremation and thus against classic burial are no longer unchristian or anti-church per se, but extremely diverse.

How do you explain this upheaval?
An important point is that an urn burial is cheaper. A burial place for an urn usually does not cost as much as a grave that has to fit a whole coffin. In addition, there is growing concern as to whether there are relatives who will take care of a large grave in the long term. An urn burial is often considered to be the simpler, more economical or easier-to-care-for form of burial and is now seriously considered by some who used to have serious concerns. Many new, individual and alternative forms of burial also require cremation.

Does that mean that cremation, in contrast to burial in the ground, offers new burial options?
The ashes can not only be buried in an urn grave in the cemetery, but also in a columbarium or a church of the Holy Sepulcher. Burial at sea, scattering ashes in the mountains, burial near your favorite football club or sometimes anonymous burial in cemetery and quiet forests, but also the more exotic forms of melting the ashes into a diamond or space burial, for some The ashes are sent into the atmosphere presuppose cremation.

What influence do the type of burial and form of burial have on the commemoration of the dead?
Burial is a great help to accompany the deceased on their last journey and to bid farewell. With a grave in the cemetery one has a clear place of mourning that is not directly with the living, but offers the possibility to overcome the distance again and again in order to keep the memory alive in a certain place.
The consequences that result from the other forms of mourning work, mourning culture and mourning experience in individual cases are certainly very individual. There are people who suffer when they have no place to mourn, for example because a funeral took place anonymously or the ashes were buried at sea. But there are also people who do not experience this as a deficiency.

There are already graves with a so-called QR code that links to mourning pages on the Internet that are supposed to remember the deceased. Digital burials, digital graves on the Internet - will that be an increasingly important issue?
As newspapers have started to become individual news carriers and publish obituaries, it is becoming more and more natural that obituaries are deliberately posted on the Internet. Perhaps the network will be used more in the future where classic forms are in fact no longer available to the mourners.
Already today, the mourning and memorial pages on the Internet take up a lot of what actually has its place in the real world in a church or in the cemetery, as the virtual funeral books and the virtual lighting of candles show. In this respect, the digital world will complement the existing culture of remembrance. But it will not replace or replace them, because the corpse is not actually buried online. Therefore, in my opinion, the real burial will always be a large part of the digital world.

"A people are judged as they bury their dead," is a saying attributed to the ancient Greek statesman Pericles. What does the upheaval in funeral culture say about society?
The reverence and care that people show their deceased show the value of the individual and the respect with which they are treated. A lack of appreciation for people today can certainly not be traced back to the cremation, because cremations and many of the associated burial options can also be very dignified.
It is far more worrying if the anonymous burial is chosen or any public farewell and ritualization is dispensed with at the burial, because the body of the deceased is only viewed as a “mortal remnant” that has to be disposed of. Every human being has a dignity that obliges the living beyond death. Even those who do not believe in eternal life should show respect for their bodies and respect the enduring dignity of people even after their death.

What is the main challenge of change? And how should one meet him?
The central challenge is not so much the question of the forms of burial, but the question of how we deal with the end of life and the fact that we humans have to die. Is death being repressed and does the dead have to be disposed of as quickly as possible, or is it more possible to perceive dying, death and thus also the dead as part of our lives? This also includes taking your time and consciously saying goodbye to the deceased. In this way we can learn that death and dying are part of our life.

How is the Church dealing with the many new forms of burial?
It is not so much the form of burial that matters, but rather the question of the motives for choosing it. I can't think of any form of burial that makes a church burial seem fundamentally impossible. It is rather important that the reasons for the choice are compatible with the gospel and the church's understanding of a funeral.
If one consciously decides in favor of cremation because one does not believe in eternal life, this is not compatible with Christian faith.A Catholic burial would then not be possible. If the burial is desired in a natural cemetery or quiet forest at the foot of a tree in order to express a pantheistic-natural religious conviction, the church cannot participate. Because the assumption that man passes into the cycle of nature and perhaps also returns in the tree that blooms above him is contrary to Christian faith.
If this form of burial is chosen because the deceased was someone who perceived nature as part of God's creation and felt it to be a place of great closeness to God, burial in the cemetery does not necessarily violate Christian belief in the resurrection. The same applies to burial at sea: If it is wanted because the sea was the symbol of a life in abundance with God for the deceased, there is no reason from the church's point of view to refuse a Catholic burial.

From a church perspective, what is decisive at a funeral?
The most important thing is that the deceased be buried believing in the resurrection. If this would have to be compromised, a Catholic funeral is not desired, but rather a funeral service of a secular type. Such a wish is legitimate, but the Church is not the right contact for it. Church funerals want to give testimony of faith in death and resurrection in the face of a deceased person who we believe, through baptism, belongs to Jesus Christ and not only died with him, but will also be resurrected with him.
This is the center of a Catholic funeral - with the climax of the celebration of Mass, which expresses that he who, as a living person, has belonged to the communion of the Church is not separated from this communion even in death. The task of the church is not to pass judgment on the life of the deceased - that is only God's business. It is your task to call to mind the faith and life testimony of the deceased and to accompany him through your requests and prayers through death.
Interview: cs / Catholic Sunday newspaper

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