I visited the Cardinal-Höfner-Circle in the North Rhine-Westfalian Landtag on 16 March. Thomas Sternberg, long-standing member of the Landtag for CDU and newly elected president of the Central Commitee of German Catholics, and his guests discussed the topic “Church – Society – Politics. Christian positionings under new conditions”. It was an interesting evening.
Considering my work for different dioceses , it is hardly about Christian positionings in politics, about Christian opinions on TTIP, assisted suicide, refugee policy or abortion. My commonplace reference discipline to theology is economics, is the “science of shortage”. What shortage actually means for theological claims must be elaborated in different circumstances: when Catholic hospitals cannot finance permantent terminal care, when diocese finances seem to run short in the distance, wenn a changed culture of volunteering weakens local church structures etc. There is no way of making a change in all this by praying, but these challenges cannot be approached without serious theological reflexion.
Simultaneously, economics always looks for the most effecient ways to reach the given aims. For church that means to take new ways and be open to innovation.