“Pioneer of church social work”

The Catholic Church and the German Caritas Association commemorated Caritas founder Lorenz Werthmann, who was born 150 years ago, with a festive service. Cardinal Karl Lehmann of Mainz paid tribute to Werthmann on Monday in Freiburg Cathedral as a pioneer of church social work, whose work and suggestions can still be felt today.

Social service for the poor and weak must be "understood as a basic function of the church," the cardinal said. Werthmann had recognized this, and had therefore already in the 19. In the 19th century, Werthmann worked with great energy on networking the social initiatives of the Catholic Church. The chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, paid tribute at the service to the courage and drive of Caritas founder.

"Highly esteemed organization of charity"

Zollitsch said Werthmann's merit was that the "manifold Catholic social works today form a Germany-wide organization of charity that is capable of action and highly esteemed". The Archbishop of Fribourg thanked all Caritas workers for their commitment: "They keep the fire burning, without which our society is in danger of freezing in the cold of selfishness." German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) wrote in a letter published over the weekend that the social commitment for which Werthmann stands "is indispensable for our society."

Founded in 1897

The on 1. Werthmann, born in Geisenheim near Rudesheim in October 1858, was the decisive force for the founding of the Caritas Association in 1897. As bishop's secretary, he built up the basic structures of the welfare association in Freiburg, which still exists today as an umbrella organization and political representative of church social work. Werthmann, who died in Freiburg in 1921, was also the first president of the association. Today, Caritas is the largest welfare organization in Germany. In nationwide more than 20.000 counseling centers, nursing homes and other social initiatives work with some 500.000 full-time and once again as many honorary employees. To the 150. On the occasion of Werthmann's 50th birthday, the postal service ies a 55-cent special ie stamp with Werthmann's portrait. Freiburg's Lambertus-Verlag publishes a biographical anthology outlining the life, work and impact of the Caritas founder, who died in 1921.

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