“The church leaves no one alone”

The German Bishops’ Conference expressed its solidarity with the people in European countries particularly affected by the Corona pandemic. In these dark hours, they stand side by side, explained the chairman, Georg Batzing.

The chairman of the bishops’ conference, Bishop Georg Batzing, described telephone conversations with fellow bishops as a "sign of church solidarity in Europe in the dire crisis we are experiencing," as was announced in Bonn on Thursday.

Italy, Spain and France were particularly hard hit by the Corona pandemic. "As Christians and Europeans, we stand side by side in these dark hours," the Limburg bishop said. He had received moving accounts from the other chairmen about the situation in the Corona areas. "These are situations that go to the heart, but they also show that the church, with its many services in pastoral care and nursing and Caritas, leaves no one alone," Batzing said.

"Coping with the crisis in solidarity"

The value of the EU is the cohesion between the states. The church must also contribute to this. "We need, everyone agreed, political solidarity in Europe to deal with the long-term consequences of such a crisis in a spirit of solidarity with the European idea," Bishop Batzing stressed.

For people, he said, there are drastic impediments to everyday life in all countries. Ban on religious services seen as painful, she said. ""I told about our experience from Germany and explained that we stand by this ban because this is how we as a church – in this situation – act reasonably and responsibly," the bishop said.

"Pope Francis succeeds in conveying consolation"

In all the interlocutors, he had experienced a deep admiration for the prayer of Pope Francis on the empty St. Peter’s Square two weeks ago: "Where in the dying of the pandemic often the last hope is robbed, the Pope succeeds in conveying confidence, or at least comfort. That unites us. That’s why we celebrate Easter," says Batzing.

According to the report, Bishop Batzing held talks with Presiding Bishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort of France, Cardinal Juan Jose Omella of Spain, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti of Italy, and the President of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), Luxembourg’s Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich.

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