Austria: Plea for a “knowledge of life”
The German Archbishop Ludwig Schick closed the Salzburg University Weeks this Sunday with an appeal to make a society humane and sustainable through knowledge.
The Archbishop of Bamberg preached at the festive service in Salzburg Cathedral. All knowledge is important, build and maintain every society, make it more humane and is indispensable for a peaceful and just world society in the global world. Schick warned against knowledge that threatened society: “We are talking about domination knowledge that makes others slaves, that divides and destroys society.” That is precisely why it is important that religions and the church want to proclaim life knowledge.
“What do knowledge of the sciences and knowledge of life have to do with each other? Knowledge of life includes the knowledge of the sciences. A church and theology that does not take knowledge seriously does not deserve the name. They also know about the relationship between society and community, about exploitation knowledge and knowledge about values. They promote knowledge and the growth of knowledge, but also point out its dangers, they embed the knowledge of the sciences in the knowledge of life,” said Archbishop Schick.
In doing so, he takes up the theme of this year’s Salzburg University Weeks: “What’s next? On the future of the knowledge society”. Schick adds: “Knowledge of life is international, transethnic and transcultural. It applies to all people, all ethnic groups, all cultures and all times, but is linked to them and has to be adapted by them. Knowledge of life is above all transcendental. Divine for religious people, from God!”
In the Salzburg Cathedral, the archbishop recalled Jesus’ knowledge of life, that the kingdom of heaven is: “The kingdom of heaven is justice, peace and joy for all, is solidarity and community, unity and freedom. The kingdom of heaven is characterized by the recognition of the dignity of every human being, regardless of skin color, ethnicity, origin, health, illness. The kingdom of heaven means human rights for everyone, everywhere and at all times. All scientific knowledge has its good place in Jesus’ knowledge of the kingdom of heaven and it becomes knowledge of life.” Belief in God gives hope for the coming of his kingdom and allows all knowledge to be used in a way that is useful and conducive to society.
Cooperation between the knowledge society and the church
Archbishop Schick emphasized the coexistence of the knowledge society and the church, which do not oppose each other: “In a knowledge society, the church must remember the transcendent God and the life knowledge of Jesus. In this way it makes a decisive contribution to the future of the knowledge society: that the knowledge society is a society of life knowledge that brings about the kingdom of heaven. The Church does not have God and is not the owner of Jesus’ knowledge of life. She is a prophetess of God and a pointer to him and she offers the life knowledge of Jesus. It keeps the question of God open and points to heaven. She doesn’t have to do more, she shouldn’t do more,” said Archbishop Schick.
Martin Dürnberger, chairman of the Salzburg University Weeks, praised the week-long event with around 700 participants as a forum that obviously continues to enjoy great appeal: “We are observing a necessary need to step out of the hustle and bustle of time in order to think together about what to do of the time.” He emphasized that discourse and scientific communication are becoming more important: “In order to creatively tackle the great challenges of our time, we not only need knowledge, but also the ability to bring different worlds of knowledge into conversation with each other – especially with the faith. In any case, the romantic retreat into your own filter bubble doesn’t get you anywhere, you have to stay on the path together.” The Salzburg University Weeks are also committed to this idea – and after the interruption caused by the pandemic, they now have their place again as a church knowledge event in the university context.
(dbk – sk)