The annual meeting of the contact group of the Bishops’ Conferences of Poland and Germany took place on April 25-27. Bertram Maier, bishop of the Augsburg diocese, hosted the meeting. This year, the Augsburg diocese is celebrating the 1100th anniversary of the bishop ordination of St. Ulric, the Patron Saint of the diocese, and the 1050th of his death. The jubilee is celebrated under the motto: Hear with the heart.
The main topics addressed at the contact group meeting were issues concerning the ongoing war in Ukraine, the problem of refugees, work on the Synod on synodality, and ecology.
In addition, members of the group from the Polish side raised the topic of defending the memory of St. John Paul II and the General Decree of the Polish Bishops’ Conference on the appearance of the clergy, members of institutes of consecrated life, associations of apostolic life and some lay faithful in the media, which came into force on April 20, 2023.
On the German side, issues related to ecumenism, the granting of canonical missions, and the sexual abuse of minors by some clergy were also touched upon.
Between working sessions, group members also visited two pilgrimage sites in the Diocese of Augsburg: St. Mary’s Cathedral in Diessen and the Benedictine monastery in Andechs.
Bishop Bertram Maier of Augsburg; Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of Cologne; Bishop Wolfgang Ipold of Görlitz; Dr. Ulrich Pönner, the Deputy Secretary General of the German Bishops’ Conference; and Dr. Jörg Lüer, the head of the Justitia et Pax Commission attended the meeting from the German side. The participation on the Polish side included Archbishop Stanisław Budzik, Metropolitan Archbishop of Lublin and Chairman of the Team for Contacts with the German Bishops’ Conference; Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, Metropolitan Archbishop of Warsaw; Bishop Tadeusz Lityński, Bishop of Zielona Góra and Gorzów; and Msgr Jarosław Mrówczyński, Deputy Secretary General of the Polish Bishops’ Conference. The Polish delegation was also accompanied by Rev. Prof. Grzegorz Chojnacki, an observer of the German Synodal Way, on behalf of the Polish Bishops’ Conference.
The meeting also included a farewell to the contact group’s former members: on the German side – Archbishop Ludwig Schick, Archbishop Emeritus of Bamberg, and on the Polish side – Bishop Jan Kopiec, Bishop Emeritus of the Gliwice Diocese.
Press Office of the Polish Bishops’ Conference
Translation: Sr. Amata Nowaszewska / Office for Foreign Communication of the Polish Bishops’ Conference