Germany: No more interreligious prayer in Cologne schools

Source: FSSPX News


Cardinal Joachim Meisner, the archbishop of Cologne, has sent a directive to the persons responsible for religious education in his diocese – which was made public at the beginning of December – which stipulates that Catholic student must not take part in religious celebrations organized with children of other religions.

In response, the Central Council of Muslims of Germany pointed out to the cardinal, through the voice of Mounir Azzaoui, the earlier directives of the Bishops Conference on multireligious feast days, asking for an unambiguous statement.

Armin Laschet, the Minister of Integration of the Rhineland, opposed these demands in the daily Die Welt, referring to the pope’s prayer in the Blue Mosque: “I believe that the times we live in have need, not of less but definitely more joint ventures between religions.”

The cardinal replied in the daily Bild: “We have to make the distinction,” he said, “between adults capable of silent assistance at the prayers of the faithful of another religion, and children, who have the right to be able to do their apprenticeship in their own faith, without mixture.”

Lale Akgün, elected delegate of the SPD of Cologne, also addressed a letter of protest published in the Kölner Stadt-Anseiger. Born in Istanbul in 1953, she arrived in Germany in 1962 with her parents, Lale Akgün adopted German nationality at the age of 27, and obtained a doctorate in psychology after studying medicine and ethnology. “She has conducted an American-style campaign,” said her husband Ahmet Akgün, a professor of Turkish and the Islamic religion at a technical high school. In her letter, the German delegate told Cardinal Meisner that his predecessor, Cardinal Josef Frings, had opened Cologne cathedral to the Muslims in 1965 for a prayer during Ramadan, and added that she wanted to see him make the same gesture. Lale Akgün also said that Benedict XVI had done more for the understanding between Christianity and Islam – during his recent visit to Turkey – than an entire theological treatise. “This is why it is incomprehensible for me that it should be you, of all people, who is thwarting the signals sent out by the pope,” with your directive.

Norbert Feldhoff, the provost of Cologne cathedral, recalled that the cathedral was a place of Catholic worship and that Muslims should not think that the places where they have prayed once, must automatically revert to them.