Archbishop Stefan Hebe sums up his trip to Lebanon © Elisabeth Schomaker (KNA)

The Refugee Commissioner of the German Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Stefan Hebe, spent almost four days in Lebanon. In an interview, he takes stock of his encounters with Syrian refugees and political leaders.

The debate about the wage conditions for employees of church institutions does not stop: Many employees of the Diakonie can no longer live on their income and have to apply for Hartz IV in addition, reports the ARD political magazine "Report Mainz" today on "Ersten".

In response to the magazine's question of whether it is Christian and just to employ people in such a way that they can no longer live on their salaries, the president of the Diakonie Bundesverband, Klaus-Dieter Kottnik, replied, according to advance reports from Sudwestrundfunk (SWR): "The alternative would be, and this is the conflict of conscience, to say we don't do the work at all anymore, we give it up."According to SWR, Kottnik denied that there was systematic social dumping. Nevertheless, he demanded more money from politics for the social system.He considers the discussion about minimum wages in the care sector to be a "diversionary tactic". The real problem, he said, is "that the payers are no longer willing to take into account the valid collective agreements in their care rates.". What is needed is "more adequate funding," said the president of the Diakonie. The contribution increase decided with the care reform to the 1. July around 0,25 per cent points is not sufficient. "If we want to have good personnel, we must also pay them accordingly. This problem will not be solved by minimum wages."Report", on the other hand, quotes Wolfgang Lindenmaier, employee representative in the nationwide labor law commission of the Diakonie, who accuses the churches of deliberately driving down the wage spiral. The two churches have relatively great political influence, but do not use this and their market leadership in the social sector to obtain reasonable wages. They used their power only to enforce dumping wages. "The whole world is upset about Lidl and Aldi. Church is worse," Lindenmaier told "Report".

Conflict on the subject of minimum wages in care

Pope Francis stands at the window and prays the Angelus © Evandro Inetti/ZUMA Wire

At the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis called for a peaceful resolution to the clashes in Ethiopia. He asked for help and support for those affected by the hurricane in Central America.

The liberalization of trade and agricultural policy in many cases violates the human right to adequate food enshrined in international law. This is the conclusion of a study on the impact of rice market liberalization on small farmers in three countries. In association with partners in the Global Ecumenical Action Alliance and FIAN, "Brot fur die Welt" presented this study on the occasion of World Food Day in Berlin.

More than half of the 854 million undernourished people worldwide are smallholders, the study said. "This is a scandal," stressed Kottnik, who opened the "Worldwide Table Fellowship" campaign of "Bread for the World" in Berlin. The signature campaign aims to urge the federal government to work to strengthen rural development and protect smallholder farmers. Kottnik appealed to German consumers to buy more fair trade products.

Small farmers are not up to modern economic principles