“Shaping the spirit of the times”

On Pentecost, the churches reminded Christians of their global responsibility. Topics of Pentecost sermons included arms exports and the dangers of genetic engineering.

A "mental environmental poisoning" criticized the Cologne Cardinal Joachim Meisner. It no longer allows "people's hearts to breathe". Children, young people and adults today live in a "sphere of influence of the unholy spirit," the cardinal said, referring to the media, theater and recreation. What is offered there is not always good and helpful.

In Berlin Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki at the "Ecumenical Pentecostal Way" to the power of the word. The Holy Spirit, Woelki said, alluding to the biblical event of Pentecost, would "never use language as a weapon," "never for exposing, bullying, distorting the truth or for self-interest," but always for understanding "in love and truth".

Facebook not a yardstick

The Bamberg resident called for a responsible approach to the Internet Archbishop Ludwig Schick to. For many, he says, it's all about how many "friends" they have on Facebook. But in life, there are "not only tweets and status messages," says Schick.

The Limburger Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst warned against man declaring himself a "doer" and violating God's creative spirit in genetic engineering, for example. The Bishop of Fulda, Heinz Josef Algermissen, expressed similar sentiments.

The Bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart Gebhard Furst said that those who open themselves anew to the Spirit of God experience the power to break out of inner-worldly rigidity. Bishop Heinrich Mussinghoff of Aachen stressed the importance of the church for being a Christian. The slogan "Christ yes, church no" seems to him like "Mozart yes, his music no," he said in Aachen Cathedral.

As "the help par excellence" described the Wurzburg Bishop Friedhelm Hofmann the Holy Spirit. His work can be experienced "when people change their lives, start to love, carry justice and peace into the world". Priestly ordinations took place in several dioceses on the occasion of Pentecost.

Shaping the spirit of the times

Christians do not share responsibility for their fellow human beings in their immediate environment, in their country and on their continent, said the chairman of the German Catholic Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, On Sunday, in his Pentecost sermon. "When factories collapse in Bangladesh and hundreds of people who worked in them for a pittance have to die, then this has something to do with us," Zollitsch admonished at a celebratory service marking the 150th anniversary of the Benedictine Archabbey in Beuron. Christians would have to ask themselves whether they could take responsibility for the fact that clothing and food are offered at cheap prices and that millions of discarded electrical appliances become garbage dumps in other countries. The solution is not to complain about the spirit of the times, but to shape the spirit of the times as Christians, the archbishop urged.

The Hamburg Archbishop Werner Thissen has called for vigilance against undesirable social developments. "It is not in accordance with the will of God if we deliver weapons from Germany to crisis areas of the world," he said on Whit Monday in Hamburg St. St. Mary's Cathedral. "It is not in accordance with the will of God when embryos are created and destroyed for reproductive cloning, at the end of which, albeit in the future, cloned humans may stand," Thissen criticized.

It is also contrary to the will of God to plunder creation and leave the earth as an exploited ruin to later generations, said the representative of the German Bishops' Conference for the development aid organization Misereor. Friendship with God requires increased vigilance in these and many other areas, he said.

Cardinal Marx: Against exploitation contact

In difficult times, the readiness for active solidarity is necessary to overcome social injustice and extreme youth unemployment in Europe, emphasized Cardinal Reinhard Marx in the Munich cathedral. He also recalled the factory collapse in Bangladesh and urged Christians to speak out against "structures of exploitation" that benefit entrepreneurs and buyers in rich countries.

The Paderborn Archbishop Becker called for understanding. As believers, Christians are always in the midst of the world, said Becker on Pentecost Sunday in Paderborn. "An unworldly Christianity is forbidden there as if by itself!"The worst thing, he said, were images of the enemy that permanently defined good and evil or orthodox believers and apostates. Becker criticized that this was an alarming way to exclude people.

Ruhr Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck called for more perspectives for Opel employees after the end of vehicle production at the Bochum site. The "fires of false economic and financial planning" have burned out the hopes of many people, their expectations of a secure job and of a life shaped with dignity in security that encourages them to act in solidarity," he criticized.

Schneider: call to prayer

The chairman of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Nicholas Schneider, In his Pentecost message, called for prayers for people in the world's conflict hotbeds. Schneider called for prayer for people in the world's conflict hotspots. "The brutal violence in Syria leaves us breathless," the theologian explained. Military force cannot bring about lasting peace: "Therefore, especially on this feast of Pentecost, we ask for God's spirit for those who are politically responsible, for those who are fighting, and for all victims in all regions of war."Christians should publicly stand up for peace, justice and the integrity of creation despite all existential fears and disappointments, added the representative of some 24 million Protestants in Germany.

The Rhenish President Manfred Rekowski deplored the often indecisive action in society and church. The spirit of despondency is often palpable in the face of pressing questions about the future of the world, the country, the church, Rekowski said in his sermon on Pentecost Monday in Ober Kostenz in the Hunsruck region of Germany.

Archbishop Muller at one of the largest mounted pilgrimages
About 900 riders have completed the traditional Kotztinger Pentecost ride on Whit Monday. Also the Prefect of the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, took part in one of the largest mounted processions in Europe. The purely male pilgrimage took place for the first time 601 years ago. Muller had already agreed last year, while still bishop of Regensburg, to participate in the Kotztinger Pfingstritt, in which he has taken part since 2004. Now he has come all the way from Rome.

The pilgrims, dressed in traditional costumes of the Bavarian Forest, cover the seven-kilometer procession route between the Upper Palatinate spa town and St. Nicholas' Church in Steinbuhl twice. The custom goes back to a legend according to which in 1412 some young men accompanied the local clergyman of Kotzting on his way to Steinbuhl to visit a dying man, in order to protect him and the holy of holies from assaults. After their return home, they vowed to repeat this ride every year.

According to the organizers, the equestrian pilgrimage has always been held, except for the period of secularization, when it was banned from 1804 to 1820. Even the National Socialists did not succeed in suppressing or reinterpreting the Christian custom.

Muller, as bishop of Regensburg, declared the pilgrimage, which at times was accompanied by ecclesiastically undesirable accompaniments such as cigarettes, beer bottles and cowboy air, to be a "Eucharistic procession" by decree. At the same time, he rescinded an old decree ied by one of his predecessors, which had forbidden carrying a monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament since 1869. Since then, Muller has taken on this task himself, with the exception of 2005.

Pentecost is considered the "Feast of the Holy Spirit" and is the third main feast of the church year after Christmas and Easter. The name comes from the Greek word "pentekoste" (the fiftieth), because the feast of Pentecost has been celebrated fifty days after Easter since the end of the fourth century.

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