“Science and Religion – Can faith and knowledge complement each other?” – Seminar in the framework of the 100th “Katholikentag” (Catholic Congress) in Leipzig
This year, from 25th to 29th May the 100th “Katholikentag” (Catholic Congress) was held in Leipzig. This was a great opportunity for KAAD to once again hold a seminar within this framework and at the same time present itself in the public sphere of the Catholic Church in Germany. 40 scholars visited podiums about “Science and Religion – Can faith and knowledge complement each other?”, which were offered by the programme of the “Katholikentag” (e.g. about technological possibilities of reproductive medicine, or about the Christian responsibility in the dispute over human dignity and human rights). The group also visited numerous events that had to do with the international contacts of the German Catholics, particularly with the Global South. The “international mass” was a particular highlight in this as well as the reception afterwards which is hosted by the Catholic aid agencies in Germany. For the KAAD group – composed of scholars from all continental departments – it was important to hold daily meetings in order to reflect about the many discussions, impressions and experiences made. The group was guided by Dr. Marko Kuhn, Head of Africa Department at KAAD and Fr. Prof. Dr. Ulrich Engel OP, Chaplain for KAAD.
The open culture of discussion, the panels attended by theologians and politicians, bishops and scholars – all that was very impressive for the KAAD-participants. They particularly noted the fact that this large and diverse meeting is headed by a council of lay Catholics in Germany. Another source of great astonishment was the so-called “Church Mile”, where a multitude of different church groups and initiatives presented themselves in booths and tents.
The liveliness of the presentations, concerts and actions during the “Katholikentag” showed a very different image of the German church, otherwise often seen by the scholars as not very vibrant. KAAD itself was also represented with a booth at the “Church Mile”. This on one hand offered the many visitors the opportunity to learn about the scholarship and educational programme of KAAD, on the other hand it gave a chance to the scholars to represent KAAD by means of talking about their biographies and studies.
Highlights for KAAD group were the atmospheric central masses at Augustusplatz, a morning prayer with the KSG Leipzig and then a visit to the KSG premises, the interaction with leaders and bishops from the Global South (e.g. Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana / the Vatican) and the very unusual mass service of Cusanuswerk in the East Hall of the Leipzig Railway Station.
The theme of the seminar KAAD (science and religion) intertwined in an enriching way with the motto of the Katholikentag: “Seht, da ist der Mensch” (“Behold the man”).