Bishop Genn with young people in Krakow © DR
Bishop Genn at the Kateches in Krakow © DR
On Wednesday morning, the German bishops also held catecheses in Krakow with the young people from their diocese. our site met Bishop Felix Genn of Munster and asked him about mercy in times of terror and violence.
Interviewer: We have the year of mercy. Also the World Youth Day is under the sign of mercy. But doesn't mercy have a particularly hard time in times of terror?
Bishop Felix Genn (Diocese of Munster): But mercy is precisely the solution to all these problems, as Pope Francis rightly says. The solution that humanity is waiting for. For what other means are there?
Interviewer: Are not also a bishop in view of such acts of violence in the past days the words missing??
Genn: Yes, words sometimes fail me. I find it terrible that something like this happens at all. Nevertheless, I think we have to face up to this reality and not let ourselves be driven by fear. Because that is exactly what the evil wants.
Interviewer: Many now demand that everything foreign should rather be seen as a danger.
Genn: I also have this concern, but I can only counter it: It is Jesus' instruction not to retreat here, but to face the problem and to stick to the principle: "I was a stranger and homeless and you took me in".
Interviewer: How did you experience the catechesis? The young people have asked courageous questions.
Genn: Indeed. The questions about divorced remarried people, about the rejection of gay marriage as a sign of the church's ruthlessness, were thankfully also asked. This is always a challenge for me, but I think I answered it with the precision that was necessary.
Interviewer: Is this also a consequence of Pope Francis' pontificate that we dare to talk about everything?
Genn: You can say that, but already Pope Benedict XVI. has been dealing with the questions of the present time. He also spared no question. He only addressed the questions more from a doctrinal point of view than from a pastoral point of view.
Interviewer: What is your experience of World Youth Day so far??
Genn: I experience it as positive, however also for me as an older person already as somewhat exhausting. I can only admire the young people with what joy and ease they take all the strain.
The interview was conducted by Johannes Schroer.