German Bishops' Conference president proposes interreligious holiday


The president of the German Bishops' Conference, Georg Baetzing, has called for an interreligious holiday to be introduced in Germany.

A day of togetherness and reflection would be good for Germany, the bishop of Limburg wrote in a guest editorial on the corona pandemic published in the Christ und Welt (Christ and World) supplement of the weekly newspaper Die Zeit.

The corona crisis has not only caused suffering but also interrupted everyday life and led people to review common mindsets and supposed truths, Baetzing wrote. "We will surely never forget the profound experience of such a major interruption."

The bishop suggested shaping this memory in the form of an interreligious holiday in Germany in the coming years. Judaism, Christianity and Islam shared the common tradition of weekly breaks in the seven-day rhythm, he wrote, referring to the Muslim day of rest and prayer on Friday, the Jewish Sabbath and the Christian Sunday.

Baetzing noted that public holidays had become a controversial issue in Germany. In a future that was threatened by segmentation and division, everything that promoted cohesion was precious. "Wouldn't such a day of feeling a sense of togetherness and of reflection be a wonderful, healing sign for believers and unbelievers alike?"

The president of the General Rabbinical Conference of Germany, Andreas Nachama, welcomed the suggestion.

"That is a positive proposal that can lead to a very good exchange," the Berlin rabbi told Germany's Catholic News Agency (KNA). He said he could imagine concrete discussions about a holiday with representatives of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths starting this year or next. (KNA)

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