Germany’s bishops have pledged to improve the integration of Eastern Catholics in the predominant Latin-rite Church, as part of ongoing plans to help migrants and refugees.
“The Catholic Church in Germany is changing and the life of our parishes becoming more diverse – faithful from Eastern Catholic Churches are living with us and finding their home here,” the bishops’ conference said.
“This diversity of Catholic Church traditions should be kept alive, so migrants and refugees can be integrated into our community without losing their own identity. They belong to the Catholic Church but come from different Eastern church traditions. Their developed patterns of liturgy and church law deserve to be valued and cherished.”
The statement, signed by Archbishop Stefan Hesse of Hamburg, chairman of the bishops’ Migration Commission, and Auxiliary Bishop Dominicus Meier of Paderborn, the bishops’ representative for Eastern Catholics, accompanied new guidelines for pastoral care of Eastern Catholics lacking their own priests and pastors.
Germany is currently home to 1.77 million registered refugees, according to Interior Ministry data, with a further 450,000 registered as asylum-seekers or “tolerated persons.”
Photo: Syriac Patriarch Gregoire III Laham of Damascus is pictured in a file photo during the consecration service of a chapel in the Jesuit College Sankt Georgen in Frankfurt, Germany. Germany’s bishops have pledged to improve the integration of Eastern Catholics in their Church, as part of ongoing plans to help migrants and refugees. (CNS photo/Harald Oppitz, KNA)