I want to tell you about our (Martha and Christian) first day here in Rome: Saturday, 3rd of October.
On Friday, 2nd Oct. Christian and Renate attended already the first international press confererence with Father Lombardi and Cardinal Baldisseri (Secretary of the Synod), where the whole procedure and programme of the coming three weeks were explained (see http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/synod/index_it.htm and http://www.vis.va/vissolr/index.php?lang=en).
On Saturday morning Christian and I had a meeting with Mr. Dege from “Deutsche Welle“. Christian was interviewed by him for broadcasting (http://www.dw.com/de/weisner-kirche-muss-die-kluft-zwischen-lehre-und-realit%C3%A4t-%C3%BCberwinden/a-18759954).
After a very short lunch Christian went to a special event: Mrs. Schavan, the German ambassador at the Holy See, invited to a formal reception because of the German National Holiday (“Day of Reunification“). Christian had got a special invitation and met several journalists and politicians.
Meanwhile Renate and I went to “Centro Pellegrino“ where the Rainbow Catholics Assembly had their meeting. On our way to them we learned about the outing of Mr. Caramsa, a high ranking Vatican theologian from Poland. We were very happy about this outing on the day before the Synod would open. Not all the Vatican people are happy. There is a big nervousness around. When we arrived a television-team from Austria waited already for me and asked me for an interview for the Austrian “ServusTV“.
The meeting itself was chracterized by a very friendly atmosphere (about 100 participants). We met many people – hugs and kisses and joy! In the beginning Mary McAleese, former President of the Republic of Ireland, was interviewed by Robert Mickens, Director of Global Pulse. It was a very moving, heart-warming speech and she got much applause because of her life-long campaign for LGBT people.
“Voices, living witness and proposals of Catholic pastoral leaders from eight countries worldwide demonstrated that a pastoral approach works better than an ideological one in promoting peaceful and fruitful relationships with LGBT people in the day to day life of Catholic communities.“ (see their press release www.waysoflove.worldpress.com)
It was a pity we had to leave before the end but we wanted to attend the Vigil at St. Peter’s Square. Some ten thousand people came to pray for the Synod. It was important for us to do the same. I took a lot of photos to catch the feeling and the mood there: very peaceful, very intense in the falling light of the day – and then with all the candles and songs.
There Christian joined us again and brought along Theo Dierkes from WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Germany). After the praying and with noodles and a glass of wine we exchanged our opinions with him related to the Synod. At this trattoria I met the Austrian bishop Benno Elbs, one of the “Synod-fathers“ (he is much younger than me and not at all a “father“J) and we agreed about a meeting and the procedure to fix it.
We were quite tired when we went to bed at midnight. What a day!