A cardinal opposes plans to hang crosses in Bavarian state buildings

The decision by the government of Bavaria to require that every entrance to state buildings display a cross by June 1 has received global attention. At home, the move by Premier Markus Söder (pictured) and the governing Christian Social Union (CSU) has fuelled public debate about the role of Christian values and identity across an increasingly divided Church and society at large.

Perhaps predictably, given that the state goes to the polls in October, the premier’s push prompted accusations from opposition parties of electioneering. The Social Democrats (SPD), left-wing and Green parties decried the decision as showing anything but “Christian values”.

Christian Lindner of the liberal FDP went so far as to claim that “the way Markus Söder and the CSU permanently instrumentalise religions for party politics is reminiscent of [Turkish president] Erdoğan”.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx also criticised the decision in an interview published with Süddeutsche Zeitung. The Archbishop of Munich and Freising accused Söder of fostering “division, unrest and adversity”, denouncing attempts at “appropriating” the cross as a merely cultural symbol.

On the other hand, Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg, in a statement published on the diocesan website, asserted that the “cross is the epitome of Western culture. It is the expression of a culture of love, compassion and affirmation of life.”

​How to continue reading…

This article appears in the Catholic Herald magazine - to read it in full subscribe to our digital edition from just 30p a week

The Catholic Herald is your essential weekly guide to the Catholic world; latest news, incisive opinion, expert analysis and spiritual reflection