geändert / updated: 17/04/08


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(Social justice; 04-02; p.3)

The "inner mission" as the Protestants' answer

J H Wichern laid the base for protestant thinking on society - to call it a doctrine is not possible, considering that this religion accepts no binding teaching except the revealed words of the bible.

The pastor defined the "inner mission" (translation of: "Innere Mission") as a task for socially caring Protestants. Volunteers ("freiwillige Pfleger") were ought to not only care for the physical well-being of the poor but to provide them with Christian-protestant views. Wichern explicitly stated that the things given were nothing but means to imbue the poors' minds and so to achieve the goal of the missionary work.
Provided with those views, the poor should have been enabled to find ways to overcome their situation - e.g. by uniting in Christian trade unions. (Cf. Wichern, J H: Die Innere Mission der Deutschen Evangelischen Kirche. Cit. in: Geschichte, Politik und Gesellschaft. Ed. by Wolfgang W. Mickel. Second ed. vol. 1, Frankfurt at Main 1988, p. 234.)

Based on Wicherns concept is the nowadays still used slogan of "help for self-help". Different Protestants had tried to derive specific political programmes from the concept; one case in point was the German Liberal Friedrich Naumann. Since there is no authoritative institution in Protestantism and since there has not been anybody as influential as Wichern, protestant thinking remains unchanged up to our days.


Roman-catholic answers

In contrast to the protestant church, the roman-catholic has a clear hierarchy. Moral questions, i.e. ethical questions that have to be answered authoritatively for all Catholics, are to be interpreted and decided by the pope. To make his decisions known, the Holy See publicises encyclicals. (read on here)

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