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Representations of Church Among Young Theologians

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Since 1995, so-called 'wishes of churchgoers' have been implemented in a number of European countries. In these adjustments a fundamental church reform is demanded, especially in the fields of women's ordination, celibacy, having a say in bishop appointments, sexual ethics and the association with divorced - and remarried people. The list with critical remarks is long, which explains the tension between the church as it is desired and the church as it is experienced. Well, reflections and discussions about the question what the church should (has to) be like, are part of the essence of the church itself. Reconsidering its roots against the background of a prophesied future is a hermeneutic performance that cannot come to an end. Whatever views can be extracted from this proces, they are embedded in the context of the present and aimed at making a modern presence of the church possible. Modernity can be interpreted as continuity in horizontal and vertical respect. So, the question which path the church should take in the future is obviously a permanent problem - actually nothing out of the ordinary. There is one group, though, for which the development of the church could be of particular importance: those who study theology. They will mark the face of the church as potential future assistants in catechism, in pastoral service, in the numerous fields of territorial and categorial spiritual care. How the church will develop and what it will be like, is ultimately also decided by their practice. That is why this group should be looked at more closely here. One question should be with what representations of the church as it is desired, first-year students start their studies in theology - even when it is obvious that this representation can experience changes in the course of the studies and due to future professional experiences.


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