Last year, the pandemic prevented nearly all face-to-face formation meetings in the Province of St. Elizabeth in Germany. To avoid having to cancel longer formation sessions, the Province decided to use “study days” for the first time in its ongoing formation program.

The first of its study days took place on Saturday, January 22, 2022, in Würzburg, Germany. Thirteen friars participated, all having first tested negative for Covid-19. Friar Heinz-Meinolf STAMM, OFM, gave a lecture on “The Church and the State.” Friar Heinz-Meinolf, is the Vice-Official of the Archbishop’s Office in Paderborn, Germany. He has taught at the Pontifical Antonianum University and the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome for nearly forty years.
One of the topics covered was on the development of the relationship between the German State and the Catholic Church in history. In particular, he referred to the neutrality of the state, which nevertheless grants religious communities great freedom and many opportunities to participate in the social life of the State. He said that even the new government today continues to value this relationship, although many Christians are wary of this at the moment. Another topic covered was the financial relationship between the State and the Church. Here, among other things, the friars discussed taxation on religion organizations as well as “state benefits”. These are funds the State pays to the Church each year as compensation for expropriations carried out during secularization.
The day ended with the recitation of Evening Prayer in common.
The next study day will take place in March of 2022, at the friary in Cologne. The theme, as suggested by the document “Franciscan Discipleship,” will concern the different stages of aging.

Friar Andreas MURK