Further debate on “ecumenical” religious education

 [Hat-tip to Pewsitter: “The Next Frontier in the Deconstruction of the Church: ‘Ecumenical’ religious instruction”]

Less and fewer students are Catholic or Protestant. This is why NRW [the German land (state) of North Rhineland Westphalia] will soon offer joint religious education for both confessions. But there is criticism from the Catholic side.

Education | Bonn – 21 October 2017

The debate about a common religious instruction of Catholic and Protestant pupils has been worsening in the past week. The Archbishopric of Cologne defended against criticism from the ranks of the Protestants and received support from the Catholic Association of Teachers, who spoke of “ecumenical cheap goods”.

The three evangelical Landeskirchen in NRW and the Catholic dioceses of Aachen, Essen, Münster and Paderborn had agreed to offer religious education together with the declining number of Christian pupils from the school year 2018/19 onwards. A mandatory change between Catholic and Protestant professors is intended to ensure that students are familiar with both confessional perspectives.

On Wednesday, Manfred Rekowski, the President of the Rhineland, described the “Archdiocese of Cologne” as “extremely unfortunate”. He referred to a newly founded primary school in Wuppertal. Of the 51 schoolchildren, only two were Catholic and two Protestant, the majority Muslim or non-confessional. “If we do not answer this situation together, then we have not heard the shot,” he emphasized.

Linktipp: Berlin churches cooperate in religion

In Berlin and Brandenburg, only a few students attend voluntary religious education. This causes problems. Catholic and Protestant Church want to solve this together. (Article of October 2017)

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Bernadette Schwarz-Boenneke, the head of the department of the School of the Cologne Archbishopric, rejected the criticism. “We are concerned that the number of Christian pupils in some places is extremely low, but denominational-cooperative religious teaching does not provide the right solution,” she said. For a rootedness of faith with its specific confession religious denominational teaching is indispensable. Moreover, it is already apparent that confessional and cooperative religious instruction is commonly misunderstood as “ecumenical teaching”. Such an instruction could not be legally.

“Ecumenical cheap goods” instead of religious truths

The Federal President of the Association of Catholic German Teachers, Roswitha Fischer, joined the discussion on Friday with a guest contribution in the Catholic newspaper “Die Tagespost”. The reaction of the Evangelical Landeskirche shows that “the project ‘denominational cooperative religious education’ is not about a strengthening of the faith, but about the task of Catholic faith in favor of ecumenical cheap goods.”

Fischer advocated a distinction between “religious education” and “religious education”. “If the teaching of religion is to be more than teaching of religions, if children and young people are to be housed in a denomination and thus in a church, this can not be achieved with a denominational, cooperative religious instruction,” she emphasized. Critically she saw the point that the first communion fell into the primary school. All children could be informed about this, but this sacrament could only be received and received by Catholics. “Homeing needs experience, experiences that are not seen as a spectator, but only through active faithfulness and inner participation,” says Fischer.

The archdiocese of Cologne emphasized the fact that there was also religious denominational education because more than one in three students were Catholic. However, the experience of the other dioceses would be very precisely evaluated. The Archdiocese of Berlin will also be an ecumenical special path in the future. The Protestant bishop, Markus Dröge, and Archbishop Heiner Koch signed an agreement on 13 October to offer a denominational and cooperative religious instruction in schools in Berlin and Brandenburg. (CBA)

Linktipp: A great challenge for teachers

The number of pupils in religious education has declined sharply. The German bishops therefore recommend stronger cooperation with the Protestant church. But what does that mean for teaching? (Article of December 2016)

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