10 things the BlackBerry (yep!) is better at than an iPhone or Android device (and the best daily driver out there today IMHO)

Nowadays, you no longer need to be locked into one cloud, social media service or ecosystem. Be it Apple (OS X, iOS), Google (Android), Amazon or something else (Windows?). In fact, you should avoid this. And this very fact means the BlackBerry smartphones, in particular the Passport and Classic, are better than any other device (in my opinion) in terms of playing the role of a daily driver. Not just for people who use smartphones primarily as communication and work device (not as distraction machines), but most consumers. The BlackBerry offers the best of all worlds and adds additional killer apps, security and a premium experience.

Sure, I know this is a bold claim. Only a few months ago, I would have disagreed with it. But the writing has been on the wall for a while (hindsight is always 20/20, yadah yadah). And looking back now, I realise that over the past few years, like many, I have significantly diversified my technology use. First instinctively, then purposefully.

If you haven’t, start today. Here is how I did it:

Firstly my software “identities” – I now use Google for Gmail and the Drive, especially on my ChromeStation, but also Microsoft OneDrive for writing and pics, iCloud for bits and bobs like the AppleTV…and other services like Dropbox for various stuff, not to mention work accounts and services that back things up securely. More than that, I am in a position to change all of these to suit whatever my requirements are and whatever services provide, with minimum effort..and on most, if not all platforms.

Secondly, hardware-wise, I am running a “multicultural” ecosystem for my professional, personal (and the family’s) needs. Today, I use an awesome LG ChromeOS workstation as my main home office desktop, a Dell business laptop running Windows 8 as work computer, an iPad Air tablet (mainly for work meetings, photos, radio interviews and tweeting from events I cover), an Amazon Kindle Voyage as reader at home – and a BlackBerry Classic as a smartphone for all of those things and more. We also have a bunch of older MacBooks and MacBook Pros still floating around the house. All or most devices are able to run the staple of solutions I need, apart from the hard-core work software (stuff like Adobe Creative Cloud, WoodWing, etc.):

  • Email accounts
  • All Social Media (esp. Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp etc etc) accounts
  • Evernote (Premium customer, but not 100% happy)
  • Blogging
  • OneNote and (Microsoft) Office – I am a subscriber
  • Photo Editing and Sharing etc.

Here’s the thing: The BlackBerry does the job of juggling these needs better, indeed much better, than any other smartphone system available out there at the time of writing. For me, and possibly for you.

Hands-on: Why I prefer the BlackBerry Classic over the iPhone 6 or any Android device
Hands-on: Why I prefer the BlackBerry Classic over the iPhone 6 or any Android device

Now, normally, I wouldn’t even consider blogging about this, but given the state of public perception around BlackBerrry, and given the amount of surprise and enthusiasm people around me have voiced when seeing the device and playing with it, let me summarise briefly the ten things that I have discovered for which BlackBerries are better than any iPhone or Android device.

  1. The keyboard. Look; I am a journalist and writer with decades of experience. I can type on anything, and fast. When I grew up, I wrote on an electric typewriter and then Commodore 64s and IBM PCs with monochrome displays. I have written longform articles and essays on the glass surfaces of various iPads, Samsung Notes, and other devices with my relatively large man-hands. Nothing beats the classic clickety-clack keyboard of the BlackBerry. It is faster and somehow more rewarding to use, just more satisfying than glass surfaces. Try it out and you will see what I mean. I prefer it even to some full-size keyboards.
  2. The Hub. The way all messaging is integrated into the new BlackBerry operating system (BB10 – see point 6) operating system’s Hub application is incredible. Swipe left and see everything at one glance. Pinch and see all unread messages, emails, posts, across all your mail, social media, and more. No matter what else you are doing or running. Amazing.
  3. The BB font. Not kidding. It is called Slate, unless I am mistaken, and this font is better and more beautiful than any font I am aware of. (This is even more subjective than the other stuff I am posting here, but) from my perspective, nothing beats this font for legibility, beauty and practicality on electronic displays.
  4. The build quality. The Classic is pleasantly heavy, solid and well-built. Very much a premium device. Far superior to the Samsungs I have known, and at least as good as the iPhones.
  5. The tool buttons. As my daily experience has taught me, having a trackpad to select, copy and paste text absolutely rocks. Having a “Play” (and “Assistant”) button is awesome. Having dedicated phone buttons is extremely useful too, especially if you want to have a good hanging up experience (push that button!). As much as I empathise with people who like a clean glass slab with not buttons, I love the buttons the Classic provides, it just makes sense to me.
  6. The BlackBerry 10 operating system. Less locked-in than the Apple garden, but arguably more secure, with real multi-tasking and no bloatware at all (like most Android phones will be delivered with). Plus the admittedly few but in some instances bloody excellent native BlackBerry stuff no other OS can offer; and yet you can install practically all Android apps too, and they run well – though they load not quite as quickly as on comparable native Android phones.I don’t recommend the BlackBerry Classic for games or movies, though it does both well. It is just not as fast. For everything else, it is absolutely fine.
  7. The separation but clever integration of “Work” and “Private” spaces. This makes the phone not only better to use for both professional and other stuff. It also adds another layer of security.
  8. Speaking of which: Security and privacy. Though you can integrate Andoid apps, you don’t need to; and you certainly don’t need to give away all your private data to Google (or another giant like Apple); I know this is in part subjective and a moving feast, but certainly I prefer the solution BlackBerry provides over any other device.
  9. The Evernote integration into tasks and notes. Wow. This was unexpected. Imagine your Evernote notes working natively and seamlessly with the iOS reminders, or Google Keep, Wunderlist or similar. And yet that is how BB10 handles them! I am an Evernote power user who runs multiple important things on Evernote, and so this has been a revelation.
  10. Phone calls. Last but not least, even if smartphones usually are not really used that much as phones by many people, including myself. I might not make many calls every day, but when I do, it needs to work well. Thanks to their Paratek antennas and microphones (yes, plural), the call quality on a BlackBerry is excellent – far superior to that of any other device out there, in my experience.

Again: Transitioning all my various email and other accounts on the BlackBerry was easy and quick. Utterly painless. The ability to run the Android apps I need in addition to the superior communication, interaction and security solution BlackBerry and the BB10 operating system provide, makes for a killer solution, all rolled into one very attractive package – with simply the best keyboard available.

If this all sounds too good to be true, rest assured – full disclosure – that I am neither paid by BlackBerry nor anyone else to express this opinion, nor do I have stock in the company or any other conflict of interest. Nor am I religious about technology brands. But I think we all need to be savvy about our use of it.

Anecdotally, I am not the only one who see the advantages: My wife, my boss and a lot of friends have all reacted very positively to the Classic – and indeed several are moving to a BlackBerry in the near future. And just like them, if another company or operating system offers a better solution, I will move on to it. For now, though, it is a BlackBerry. I hope they keep up the good work the company is doing after they took a few bad turns.

How the media is problematizing large families

Full disclosure: I am not only a father of four children but also a passive member of the association quoted below.

There is some extremely interesting research and – speaking not just as a blogger but editor-in-chief of a weekly newspaper – devastating analysis of how the media creates and perpetuates stupid prejudices against families, especially

Source: Verband kinderreicher Familien
Source: Verband kinderreicher Familien

those with three or more children. This in turn leads to a messy, unfair and deeply disturbing misrepresentation of families. This analysis is coming from the association of “child-rich” (love that term!) families in Germany (this is their home page).

As the multilingual website “FamilyandMedia.eu” reports (check them for the full story here), the prejudices against families with three kids come about in four ways:

1) The media speaks about large families only in relation to problems: too many financial burdens, conflicts from living together, and unstable accommodations. By rule, with a few exceptions in the popular press, they are represented with negative clichés, such as “families with many children are abnormal” or “only families with immigrant parents have many children.” The image that results is that large families are excessive or only proper to socially marginalized categories.

2) 41% of the examined articles offered a negative image of the traditional family, understood as a family in which the father works and the mother is at home, with one or two children (an image that, coincidentally is also far from reality).

3) While news about the family in general is mostly related to politics, those concerning large families are always presented in relation to specific and problematic cases.

4) The topic of family and of the number of children was treated in a reductive way, giving space only to opinions that were based on common places and stereotypes, which in turn were often supported by the voices of so called “experts.”

Sure, they “only” analyze German media, but does this not apply to most Western media? I reckon so.

For readers of German and those not afraid of Google Translate, here is an excellent interview with the spokesperson of the association, Florian Brich, about the “conceptual hurdles” that families need to tackle to have a fair voice, representation and coverage in the media.

How I failed to expose the false idol of journalistic objectivity

So we were sitting up on the panel in the auditorium of the Pontifical University of Santa Croce. It had already been a long day, though it was only 3.30 in the afternoon. I had a few more minutes to gather my thoughts before our presentation and discussion. Dozens of people were filling up the seats, firing up laptops and tablets, checking their earpieces that provided simultaneous translations into one of four languages. I saw a bishop speaking to a small group of young, well-dressed women and men, presumably students of the university. Next to me, Matthew Bunson was going through his presentation paper.

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Professor Daniel Arasa and Federico Lombardi

That morning, we had been at Saint Peter’s square by 6.30, hoping to catch an early mass with a priest and two other German pilgrims we had met. However, people had already begun queueing up for the weekly General Audience. We could not get inside the basilica. Of the more than one million people who had travelled to Rome for the canonisation of Pope John XXIII and John Paul II, many had stayed for a few more days. So we had stopped for breakfast – the priest knew just where to go – and then walked over to the Salle Stampa to take part in the first point in the conference programme that day: an opportunity to talk to Federico Lombardi SJ, the spokesperson and head of the Vatican press offices. Father Lombardi was very candid about the relief the “new” pope’s public persona has provided to his own role: no longer does he feel entrenched and stuck in a more defensive position, since the secular media has greeted Francis with enthusiasm and an open, welcoming stance. At the same time, the affable Jesuit also described some of the challenges the spontaneous nature of the Holy Father posed – before taking questions from the fully filled press room.

Digital challenge to print media

Afterwards, we had walked back to the university and taken lunch there, before finally gathering again in the plenary auditorium for the two final sessions: The presentations of Matthew Bunson and myself, as well as – saving the best for last – an encounter with Joaquin Navarro-Walls, the director of communications for Saint Pope John Paul II.

Over the last two days, dozens of speakers had given talks – the program offered several simultaneous sessions – and included speeches by Cardinals Dolan and Barbarin, the Archbishops of New York and Lyon, respectively, as well as Austen Ivereigh, who heads Catholic Voices, the well-known Washington law professor and activist Helen Alvaré, and many others. I had written copious amounts of notes, met many interesting new colleagues and already filed reports for radio and my own paper of the canonisation – since the day before the conference even started, we had experienced the historic event right in the middle of Rome.

So, here we were. The auditorium was full, and the Dean of Communications, Prof. José Maria LaPorte, greeted the attendants, introduced the panel and asked Fr. Christian Mendoza to give an introductory speech that outlined the topic: the challenge of the digital revolution to Catholic communications – in particular print journalism. This topic was right up my alley. Having started my journalism career in print back in the 1990s, I had learnt the craft in the typical and traditional setting of a broadsheet daily newspaper before moving on to work in TV and broadcast journalism in general both in Germany and Australia for well over a decade. I had experienced journalism at every level and across all media, in commercial and public, as well as recently in religious institutions, from the line to senior executive levels. What is more, my (still not completed) PhD thesis struggles with a very abstract but (in my view) crucial aspect of journalism: its epistemology, the question of how journalism knows what it knows and then shares with the world, in the process producing a public sphere (or contributing to it), hopefully providing some checks and balances for society.

Exposing the false idol

For my presentation, I had decided to focus on two aspects the digital communications revolution has brought about –– points that affect communications in general and journalism in particular: firstly, the de-professionalisation of the craft at a time when we need quality journalism more than ever; and secondly, the opportunities this provides for communication, especially for Church communication – after all, a field on the defensive in an often hostile secular setting, but paradoxicaly blessed with arguably the best “product” anyone could ever hope for: the literally good news of the Gospel.

Now, apart from a bunch of great practical possibilities the ongoing revolution provides, I was going to argue that an important but also risky opportunity had arisen: to expose the false idol of primitive objectivity with which – since early modernity – the press had obfuscated and at the same time reified its social legitimacy.

Exposing this false idol was risky in the sense that if we (Catholic communicators) were not going to do so – and use this window of opportunity to professionalise and legitimise a “Catholic” (in inverted commas!) journalism and communication – then it would be closed on us. This would have dire consequences, given that we live in a time where even the basic Catechesis in the Faith is happening in the media, as Cardinal Dolan had pointed out in his opening address at the conference.

Three concrete suggestions

After an excellent presentation by the author and journalist Matthew Bunson (more on this in a separate post), I launched into my own talk. And everyting progressed really well – till about half way through the presentation, I realised that the somewhat abstract problem of this false idol really was far too complex and abstract for the setting of this seminar. I soldiered on, simply stating the conclusions of my research and finishing with three concrete suggestions:

Firstly, I believe we should specialise and re-professionalise. In secular culture, knowledge of the truths, beauty and simple facts of our Faith are less and less part of common knowledge. Expertly and professionally sharing the splendours – and also the less dazzling  aspects – of how our faith is expressed in prayers, liturgy, but also acts of charity (and what it provides to those that believe!), is not just imbued with the joy of the gospel, but powerful storytelling and potentially fantastic journalism: credible, authentic – and real, not just objective.

Secondly, let us engage and educate. Being knowledgeable and communicate well about our Faith and its expression in the works of the Church, the works of charity, and so on, is one part; the other is to engage audiences wherever they are. Who is helping cradle Catholics by informing them about the Church and what we believe – rather than letting them get that information from secular media, as – I would guess – more than 90% do? Which Catholic media outlet today is talking to the many millions of Muslim migrants amongst us, for instance? I believe this is part of the Catholic journalist’s job description.

Thirdly and finally, I am convinced that none of these suggestions, or other attempts we might tackle, will bear fruit if they are not informed and imbued by our own connection to God through an active participation in the sacraments and a regular, active prayer life. Too many Catholic journalists, myself included, write more about the Church then they pray or participate in and with her. However, it is that objectivity that we need: of the interior life, our relationship with Jesus Christ and his Church.

Christian Mendoza, Matthew Bunson, José Maria LaPorte and yours truly
Christian Mendoza, Matthew Bunson, José Maria LaPorte and yours truly

Images taken by students of the university, (C) 2014 Pontificia Università della Santa Croce. A full gallery of  can be found here.

Disclosure: I was one of the invited speakers at the conference. The university paid for my travel and accommodation.

“Clearly, confidently, joyfully”: 7 rules for journalists

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“Here is a man who pulls no punches”, the person next to me said. We sat in the auditorium of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, together with dozens of other participants. As we watched the big American walk up to the microphone flashing his trademark smile I must admit, I was sceptical: was Cardinal Timothy Dolan really going to call the proverbial spade a spade whilst wading into the complexities of Catholic journalism, whatever that is?
Three sentences into the Archbishop of New York’s presentation, however, I was impressed. This man is not just a straight shooter. He is highly intelligent and funny, passionate with the love of Jesus Christ. Over the next three days of the seminar  “Church Communications: Creative Strategies for Promoting Cultural Change“, speakers from around the world kept coming back to his points in their presentations – myself included (more on my own talk in a separate post this week).
So what did the Archbishop say? I jotted down the following observations the Cardinal offered – these are more or less verbatim what his Eminence had to say:
  1. We need a real sense of professionalism – how we say something is just as important as what we say. Communication continues the incarnation: The word made flesh. Others are more intentional and professional than we are.
  2. We are never afraid to tell the truth. Even if we are dealing with bad news. Utter honesty and transparency is expected. people want to hear it first from us. Not from the media. Be proactive in the truth.jpii always said  be not afraid . We should be neither. Church is never afraid of the truth. Also applies to good news…journos always ask me about the olds rather than the news – examples of interviews with TV journalists
  3. Every communication outlet has a bias, a slant. We should have our own bias. It must be pro Church. Pointlessly criticising the magisterium and the bishops has no place in Catholic media. This does not mean thinly veiled clericalism! Bishops need and deserve criticism, but it must be fair and civil, not knee-jerk reactions. Share the joy and beauty of being a Catholic. Most Catholics that get their news from the Catholic media look for both information and formation from it.
  4. We should not stereotype the media either. Always respond cleanly and in a civil manner. Those seeking to harm the church are a minority. Most are looking for access and information. If we hide they turn to others, often those that do want to criticse the church. I recently learned a Jewish concept which in Hewbrew is called “Anivut”. This is the term for a soft answer to a harsh challenge. It denotes humility, forbearance and quiet calm. Jesus our model sure did have it. Pope Francis is an example of it. Let us act accordingly.
  5. We must bear in mind the need to always be catechetical. Dogma matters! We can not underestimate peoples lack of knowledge of our faith.  Even the most simple and elemental points are misunderstood by average Catholics. We must clearly, confidently, joyfully, succinctly, simply, explain our faith. Catechesis nowadays happens in the media. We need to look for teachable moments: Ash Wednesday, Easter Sunday, Christmas. Canonisations or a conclave. These are opportunities to explain our teaching. The day for just having “bald fat old bishops” to communicate the message is long gone – take Helen Alvaré  on the pro life message for instance. Or “Catholic Voices” on pope Benedict’s visit to the UK. When speaking to people about contentious issues, invite people beforehand, ask them to make suggestions, and always make sure you really do listen!
  6. Always put Jesus first. People hunger for meaning in their lives. Truth has a name and it is Jesus. “I have vowed never to give an interview without at least trying to mention the holy name of Jesus”. Never can you pass up an opportunity to evangelise or catechise.
  7. Know your audience. Know the powerful effect of media, in particular the new (social) media.
Whilst I wholeheartedly agree with most of what Cardinal Dolan had to say, I found his third and sixth point to be the most contentious and valuable, in particular also for German speaking Catholic journalists and communicators. There is a tendency amongst many of my German speaking colleagues – in particular those in employ of the Church – to conflate unfair criticism with a kind of “healthy suspiciousness”. Some colleagues even think they need to emulate those dominant elements of the public sphere that critique the Church and her bishops unfairly, cast aspersions of doubt about central tenets of our Faith and suffer from a profound lack of knowledge thereof at the same time.
Anyway; this is a complex and multi-faceted problem that I can not fully explore here. Suffice it say that I think the Cardinal may be hitting even more nails on the head than he may be aware of!
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Images taken by students of the university, (C) 2014 Pontificia Università della Santa Croce. A full gallery of pictures – including several of yours truly – taken during the conference can be found here.
Disclosure: I was one of the invited speakers at the conference. The university paid for my travel and accommodation.

Presenting on “Crisis and Opportunity: The Digital Challenge to Journalism and the Catholic Press”

This weekend, I am finalising a paper I will give in Zagreb in Croatia on Monday titled  “Crisis and Opportunity: The Digital Challenge to Journalism and the Catholic Press”. The talk will also be published later as part of the proceedings of the event, which marks the 50th anniversary of the Diocesan newspaper of Zagreb, Glas Koncila.

My paper focusses on two major (and global) developments challenging the weekly press: the digital communications revolution and the deprofessionalisation of journalism. I critically analyse both phenomena and how these two factors are described as being interconnected. Finally, my paper draws attention to a third major factor, which is more peculiar (but not unique to) the Catholic press, viz. the secularisation of Western media and society, and the rise of non-Catholic religious communications.

Why bother? Because in doing so, my paper not only casts a critical eye on how these factors interact, but also what they mean for the future of periodic publications in general and Catholic weeklies in particular. I close with a number of concrete suggestions for Catholic scholars, publishers and journalists in order to deal with these challenges.

If anyone is interested in the presentation, get in touch – I will not be sharing it before it is published some time next year though.

Raus aus Absurdistan, rein ins Feldlazarett!

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Warum werden hunderttausende Euro Spendengelder für Parteien ebenso nach einem Tag vergessen wie absurde Millionenabstürze an der Börse, die Badewanne von Bischof Tebartz-van Elst aber nicht? Dahinter steckt keine Verschwörung, sondern ein gesellschaftlicher Komplex.

Am “Fall Tebartz-van Elst” mag vieles interessieren. Zu wenig beleuchtet sind aus meiner Sicht vor allem zwei Dinge: Erstens, was ich “die Sache mit den beiden Angelas” nennen würde. Und zweitens, die Berichterstattung, genauer: die mediale Entgleisung; dazu haben Bernhard Remmers oder auch Alexander Kissler schon knackig das zusammengefasst, was erstmal zu sagen ist.

Bleibt noch die Sache mit den beiden Angelas. Die ist nicht ganz so leicht zusammen gefasst, aber dafür noch knackiger.

Kennen Sie überhaupt Angela Ahrendts? Die Dame war bis eben die wohl bestbezahlte Frau in der Finanzkapitale London. Rund 20 Millionen Euro hat Angela vergangenes Jahr verdient. Warum? Weil Sie einer Firma, die schöne Klamotten und andere edle Gegenstände verkauft geholfen hat, noch mehr davon zu verkaufen. Burberry heißt diese Firma, und als die Nachricht von Angelas Ausstieg platzte, verlor der Luxuskonzern an der Börse die luxuriöse Summe von 500 Millionen Pfund auf einen schlappen Schlag an Wert. Schwups, und eine halbe Milliarde Pfund war plötzlich weg.

Ich weiß, was Sie jetzt sagen werden: Ein halbe Milliarde Pfund, das macht etwa 600 Millionen Euro! Damit könnte man ja 20 Limburger Renovierungsarbeiten finanzieren. Ich füge hinzu: Oder fast den Jahreshaushalt der Erzdiözese München und Freising im Jahr 2013. Woher ich das weiß? Das kann jeder nachlesen, der auf diese übersichtliche Darstellung schaut. Aber darum geht es gar nicht.

Es geht nicht um eine “Offenlegung von Finanzen”

Die Forderung nach einer Offenlegung von Finanzen hat auf einer tieferen Ebene gar nichts mit der Frage zu tun, ob und wie die deutschen Bistümer ihre Finanzen “offen legen”. Hier wird etwas anderes verhandelt, was ich an unseren beiden Angelas eben festmache. Die eine Angela hat eine halbe Milliarde Pfund weggezaubert. Die andere wird im Ausland gerne als “mächtigste Frau der Welt” bezeichnet. Hier bei uns nennen wir sie einfach “Mutti”.

Angela Merkels Partei hat sich von der BMW-Milliardärsfamilie Quandt eine nette Parteispende schenken lassen. Knapp 700.000 Euro. Wer bestreitet, dass so politische Gunst eingekauft wird? Schlimm genug, doch das ist eben auch (noch) nicht der Punkt. Genauso wenig, wie der Punkt (nur) ist, dass eine Finanzwelt, in der Börsenwerte im Milliardenbereich durch eine Personalmeldung in Minuten vernichtet werden, eine hysterische Karikatur ihrer selbst geworden ist.

Kein moralischer Kompass

Die Sache mit den beiden Angelas: das ist die Sache mit der ungerechten Absurdität unserer säkularisierenden Gegenwart, gegen die – ex negativo – das Bild der Kirche auch und gerade im Fall Tebartz-van Elst ein ganz anderes ist. Genauer: Die Sache mit den beiden Angelas ist, dass ganze Gesellschaftsfelder ohne moralischen Kompass operieren. Und sie stellt die Frage, welche Rolle die Kirche in einem solchen Absurdistan einfordert, aber auch haben darf.

Kulturkritisch ausgedrückt: Es gibt – jenseits der kontingenten Materialismen – in unserer gesellschaftlichen Lebenswelt keinen einforderbaren normativen Konsens mehr, zumindest keinen, dem der Umgang mit eben diesem Materialismus untergeordnet wäre. Papst emeritus Benedikt prägte dafür auch das Wort von der “Diktatur des Relativismus”. Mit dem Bild des Kompanten gesagt: Man weiß zwar, wohin der Kompass zeigt, aber man richtet sich nicht mehr danach, weil seine Funktion nicht mehr gewünscht ist. Er ist zu unerbittlich, zu verbindlich. Eben so gar nicht relativ. Wer braucht schon den Pfeil nach Norden, wenn nichts mehr eingenordet sein soll, ja, diktatorisch ungewünscht ist?

Die Rolle der Kirche in Absurdistan

Heribert Prantl hat in der Süddeutschen Zeitung zurecht darauf hingewiesen, dass unsere Gesellschaft die Moral an die Kirche “outgesourct” hat. Eine solche funktionale Ausdifferenzierung erklärt auch die Vehemenz der Angriffe auf die Kirche in Fällen moralischen Vergehens. Hier gibt es keine gesteuerten Kampagnen, wie manche Beobachter sofort wittern. Auch wenn das Verschwörungstheoretiker nicht glauben mögen: Dahinter stecken keine bösen menschlichen Absichten, sondern ein absurdes System, dem solche Kampagnen letztlich immanent sind. (Das hat schon der Soziologe und Theoretiker Niklas Luhmann in ganz anderen Zusammenhängen nachgewiesen.)
Was weder Luhmann noch Prantl noch viele andere kluge Beobachter anerkennen: Dieser Kompass, das ist die Kirche. Die Kompassnadel ist unbestechlich. Ihr Pfeil zeigt unerbittlich in eine Richtung, und zwar raus aus Absurdistan. Das ist die Rolle der Kirche auch in dieser Lebenswirklichkeit, und das macht sie im gleichen Maße unbequem und nötig. Daran erinnert Papst Franziskus – ebenso wie seine Vorgänger – immer wieder.
Die Rolle der Kirche in Absurdistan ist eine andere als noch vor 100 Jahren. Der Papst verwendet das treffende Bild eines Feldlazaretts. Die Rolle kann und muss die Kirche haben – und einfordern. In einem solchen Lazarett stehen keine teuren Badewannen. Aber in einem solchen Lazarett ist auch Platz für die beiden Angelas, nicht nur die Gläubigen, egal ob die nun Bischof Tebartz-van Elst heißen oder anders. In diesem Lazarett werden wir alle vor der existentiellen Malaise der Orientierungslosigkeit gerettet, genauso wie vor dem galoppierenden Materialismus.

Crosspost von der Kolumne “Wimmers Woche” auf den Münchner Kirchennachrichten