"Berlin, Berlin, we are going to Berlin", some students of the Catholic Theological Faculty of the University of Erfurt were pleased to say on 31 October 2016, because while the lecture "Church Law for Leadership Personnel" usually deals purely theoretically with legal entities through which church organisations participate in civil and church legal relations, Prof. Dr. Myriam Wijlens from the Chair of Canon Law invited to a "practical test" on this day.
As already in 2013, the students could expect an extremely varied program under the motto "Catholic Church in Germany - Encounter with Persons and Institutions".
At the beginning our group was warmly welcomed in the Catholic office. Ms. Katharina Jaenstedt, Deputy Director of the Catholic Office Berlin (Commissariat of the German Bishops' Conference), gave a vivid and informative presentation about the multifaceted work of the Catholic Office, which interacts with German politics at the federal level on behalf of the German bishops, but also takes on coordinating tasks within the Church.
Afterwards Mr. Eisend, scientific adviser of the Catholic Military Bishops Office, gave information about the work and the structures of the military pastoral care, which as "Church among the soldiers and their families, partnerships and relatives" ensures their pastoral care on behalf of the Church and the state.
In the afternoon Ms. Katrin Gerdsmeier presented the associational structures of Caritas. Even though Caritas is perceived by the public as a large unified institution, it is composed of more than 6,000 autonomous, i.e. independent, regional associations and institutions. This poses the challenge of acting as a unified association, but also the opportunity to be able to respond quickly and easily to regional needs.
The excursion finally ended in the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican's embassy. There, Pastor Jürgen Doetsch, staff member of the Nuncio, patiently answered questions and drew a very detailed picture of the many-sided diplomatic tasks of the Apostolic Nuncio, who represents the Pope not only in relation to the Federal Republic of Germany but also to the respective local churches.