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"The Church Has Accepted My Work"

Lorenz Werthmann and the German Caritas Association


From: Geist und Leben, 2/2010, P. 127-140
webmaster's own, not authorized translation


The 9th November is a key date in German history - at least of the 20th century. In 1918 on this day the November Revolution begins in Berlin, in 1923 the Hitler-Ludendorff Putsch takes place in Munich, in 1938 the "Reichskristallnacht" (named this way by Joseph Goebbels), and in 1989 - at last a positive event! - the fall of the Berlin Wall is linked to the 9th November. But there was an important 9th November also a few years before the beginning of the last century, namely in 1897, when in Cologne the Charitas Association was founded for Catholic Germany. It is gratifying that this event is also listed in the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia, but without mentioning the man who founded the German Caritas Association, namely Lorenz Werthmann, to whose life and work the following statements are devoted {1}.


1st The First Decades of His Life

On 1 October 1858 he was born in the town of Geisenheim in the Rheingau as the son of John Werthmann, administrator of an estate, and his wife Barbara. Only two of his four siblings survived him, Barbara, who was for a long time his housekeeper, and Johann, who later worked as a Sanitätsrat [Medical Consultant] in Frankfurt. His uncle and godfather, Paul Werthmann was Merciful Brother in Montabaur. Lorenz was a sickly but lively and studious boy. After the elementary and secondary school he attended in his hometown the high school in Hadamar near Limburg and lived there in the Episcopal Seminary. In 1877 he took his Abitur and went, determined to become a priest, to Rome in order to begin his studies at the Pontificium Collegium Germanicum et Hungaricum.



In 1880 and 1884 he gained the doctorate in his two subjects theology and philosophy. In between, on 28 October 1883, he was ordained priest. The time in the Eternal City with its variety of impressions became fundamental for Werthmanns further way. In the first months of 1878 the election of Leo XIII as Pope took place, who was author of the social encyclical 'Rerum Novarum'. Werthmann reckoned this event among the most memorable moments of his life. Already here in Rome, where his love for the Italian country and people rapidly developed, he was much occupied with social issues. He found here inspiration and food for thought above all by the encounters with Vicar Franz Hitze (1851-1921), who at that time also studied in Rome and was later expert in social policy, Reichstag deputy and professor of Christian social science.

In 1884 Werthmann returned to Germany and was on 1 December appointed secretary of the Limburg Bishop Peter Josef Blum, who died already four weeks later, on 30 December. In January 1885 he was appointed chaplain at the Frankfurt cathedral and became acquainted with the city pastoral care and the busy Vinzenzverein [St. Vincent Association]. "Since that time," he wrote in 1897, "I have always been interested in charitable efforts." {2} Already in summer 1885 he was called back to Limburg, namely as secretary of the new bishop, Johann Christian Roos. A year later Roos was appointed archbishop of Freiburg, and thus Metropolitan of the Upper Rhine ecclesiastical province, and he took Werthmann along as secretary and court-chaplain. The latter acquired the Baden citizenship and was in 1888 enrolled as priest of the archdiocese. As Conrad Gröber, later Archbishop of Freiburg, wrote in retrospect, this decision was supported by the church authorities {3}. The crucial factor for it, however, was "more his excellent predisposition and his priestly work than a natural sympathy of individual cathedral canons for the choleric from Rheingau Geisenheim". Indeed, still for a long time the "Prussian" Werthmann met with reserve and suspicion, for in common parlance he was called the "little black archbishop" for his outspoken and determined manner and his obvious influence. He had also problems with understanding the Swabian-Alemannic mentality and dialect. Nevertheless, he attended lectures on law and economy at the University of Freiburg and took an active part in club life. Already since 1888 he was a member of the in 1880 founded Association of Catholic industrials and workers' friends "Arbeiterwohl", the Secretary-General of which was Franz Hitze, who was known to him from Rome.



Likewise, he was interested in the Vinzenzverein, which had been founded in Freiburg already in 1848 by Franz Joseph Ritter von Buß (who in 1837 had made the first socio-political speech in a German Parliament). Lorenz Werthmann became director of the Diocesan Council of the Vincent Associations of Baden, and at meetings he promoted the Vincent work. In 1896 Archbishop Roos entrusted him with the pastoral care of Italian workers in the diocese. His seven-year stay in Italy, which according to his own words had become a second home, predestined Werthmann for the spiritual and social care of those early guest workers, for whom he also wrote an Italian model confession. When Roos died in October 1896, also Werthmann was discussed as his successor. But in 1898 Thomas Nörber was then appointed, the former parson of the convent church of the Sepulchrines in Baden-Baden, who in 1900 appointed him "Archbishop's Commissioner for charitable affairs" {4}. But with it he only confirmed what had already for years been the focus of Werthmann's activities, namely the efforts to organize Caritas.


2nd Werthmann as Organizer of the Caritas in Germany

"'More Organization!' - that is the call of our time in all areas. It applies also to Caritas. Its tasks are growing in content and scope; the claims are rising. The situation becomes more complicated, more difficult. The competition becomes harder. Good intentions and self-sacrifice alone are not sufficient - it has to be worked clearly and purposefully. The entire area of misery and distress in all its forms has to be dealt with according to a consistent plan, so that nowhere forces are wasted, nowhere means are squandered, no area is neglected. The more powerful the field of work continues expanding and the less the forces are sufficient, the more a deliberate, orderly cooperation is required." {5}

The already known to us Franz Hitze insistently outlined with those words what many other Catholic social reformers and journalists, and association representatives in the second half of the 19th century had repeatedly requested, namely, the pooling and thus strengthening of the diverse socio-charitable initiatives in Germany also for the Catholic sector. Since the Protestant Diakonia had already in 1848 with the "Innere Mission" and the inter-denominational Wohlfahrt with the "Rotes Kreuz" [Red Cross] (1863) and with the "Vaterländischen Frauenverein" [Patriotic Women's Association] (1866) created central associations.



It was Lorenz Werthmann who, after the inhibitory phase of the Kulturkampf, tackled the great task of creating a Catholic Caritas organization. In 1890, at a general meeting of the aforementioned association "Arbeiterwohl" in Bocholt Werthmann had for the first time brought forward the idea of a charitable umbrella organization [Gesamtorganisation]. In the following years this idea was developed by him together with a few friends - supported by the in 1890 founded large "Volksverein für das katholische Deutschland" [People's Association for Catholic Germany]. Here, among others, Franz Hitze has to be mentioned and the Düsseldorf Provincial Councillor Maximilian Brandts (1854-1906) {6}, but also a monk from Bavaria, namely the enterprising Altötting Capuchin Cyprian Fröhlich (1853-1931), founder of the "Seraphischen Liebeswerkes für verwahrloste (später: gefährdete) Kinder" [Seraphic Charity for Neglected (later: Vulnerable) Children]." At the suggestion of Father Cyprian in 1895 the publication of a magazine as a journalistic instrument has been decided, in order to prepare the founding of the Caritas Association. At the same time a "Charity-Comité" was founded in the house of the Freiburg publisher Herder {7}. This committee, which was actually only a circle of editors and supporters for the since 1896 monthly published and by Werthmann until his death edited "Charitas. Zeitschrift für die Werke der Nächstenliebe im katholischen Deutschland" [Charity. Journal of the works of charity in Catholic Germany (now 'new caritas')], was since then used by him above all to legitimate his goal. Thus from 1896 onwards Werthmann invited on behalf of the committee to annual study days, namely the "Charitastage", which should serve the spread of the Caritas idea.



In February 1897 he then called for the foundation of the "Charitas-Verbandes für das katholische Deutschland" [Charity Association for Catholic Germany], which became reality on the occasion of the Second Caritas Day in Cologne, and that - as initially mentioned - on 9 November 1897.

The trait of the man from the Rheingau to plan and decide alone, to press incessantly ahead, and then sometimes to lose sight of the conditions which had to be taken into consideration, would almost have thwarted Werthmann's plan to found this association. For on the one hand he admittedly spoke always in the name of the "Charity-Comité", but gave hardly any information to its members (including members of the diocesan chapter and the ordinariate), on the other hand in the proclamation for founding this association and in the proposal for its statute he failed to express unmistakably the subordination to the leadership and supervision of the Archbishop of Freiburg and the episcopate. When he, despite a request, did not make good for it in due urgency and unambiguousness, the auxiliary bishop of Cologne, Hermann Joseph Schmitz, whom he had intended for the honorary presidency of the Caritas Association, refused flatly to take part in the Cologne Caritas Day, at which two weeks later the foundation should take place: "I sincerely regret that the beautiful idea of Charity is impracticable for the time being," Schmitz wrote to Werthmann on 27 October 1897. "Every attempt to act in opposition or even by ignoring the church authorities would have ruinous effects on the Catholic people and would thus be contrary to 'Charity'." {8} Werthmann only now realized that this was a question of 'to be or not to be' for the association. Just in time he succeeded in clearing the way by a talk with Frederick Justus Knecht, who was the administrator of the diocese Freiburg, and through a letter to Schmitz, "probably the most touching letter ... that ever flowed from Werthmann's pen" {9}. A few sentences from it:

    "With the deepest grief and sincere regret I have received Your Episcopal Worship's letter. (...) The cancellation of the Caritas Day would deal the death-blow not only to my work, but, as I think, to the whole movement. (...) Now, with regard to my person, I admit that my way of proceeding was brisk and often independent, but I think as an excuse I can give (apart from my love and enthusiasm for the cause), that they have without envy and protest not only left to me all the heavy workload of editing and of the thousands of letters in the past two years, but it went without saying that I made the greatest pecuniary sacrifices for the cause.



    Until now I received no pfennig for my two years of work, to which some of my nervous strength and quite a few hours of the night are sacrificed. In addition, I have already given away several thousand marks, and now literally the last pfennig for the purposes of Charitas, especially for the construction of a small printing shop, and in the future I expect still great sacrifices. Nonetheless, I hereby declare: The case of Caritas is so near and dear to me that I would like to sacrifice myself and my reputation and my undertakings without entitlement to compensation, provided the continuation of the work is secured by other forces." {10}

Schmitz then relented, and the new association could thus come to life. As its headquarters was chosen the city of Freiburg. Its purpose was to promote methodically all social and charitable efforts in Catholic Germany by organizing Caritas Days and Conferences, founding further Caritas (ancillary/sub) associations, professional organizations, a central informaton office as well as the already in 1896 successfully established technical library (with now more than 240.000 volumes) and the publication of relevant literature. The main tasks were, therefore, in three key words: 1st organization, 2nd training (studies), 3rd publication.

Moreover, Werthmann ascribed also an important societal and socio-political task to Caritas, which it could fulfil now better than before. "Caritas," he said at the Catholic Congress in Neisse in 1899, "is the steam in the social machine. It is the soothing oil to smooth the high-running waves of social discontent. It wants to be the preschool for social activity and is pathfinder for governmental and legislative measures." {11} Werthmann was convinced that Caritas can only achieve this when it has a Christian foundation and a religious goal. "We do not only want to still the hunger of the body with food but we also want to still the hunger of the soul with truth, grace and reconciliation with God," he said 1910 in a keynote speech at a meeting of the Breslau Caritas and termed the care for the soul "the soul of the care for the poor" {12}. Ultimately, it was for him a matter of re-establishing the Christian society by restoring the Christian family. Already at that time this goal was very ambitious, and today it is completely unattainable. But the maintenance of the Christian proprium of Caritas is also today of unaltered relevance.



Despite severe financial problems it was possible until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 to bring into being 7 Diocesan Associations {13}, two dozen local Caritas associations {14}, and 10 professional associations. The first of these were the "St. Josephsgesellschaft für Krüppelfürsorge" [St. Joseph's Society for Cripple Care]" (1904), the "Verband katholischer Anstalten Deutschlands für Geistesschwache" [Association of Catholic Facilities in Germany for Mental Patients] (1905), the "Katholischer Krankenfürsorgeverein" (Catholic Health Care Association) (1906) and the "Hildegardis-Verein zur Unterstützung studierender katholischer Frauen" [Hildegardis Association for the aid of Catholic women students] (1907).

The enormous distress of the First World War made it clear in a conspicuous way that the association showed also important shortcomings. These were not only the deficient material base, the little workable infrastructure with diocesan association in less than every third diocese, and the hesitant integration of various charitable organizations and institutions, which feared - not without good reason - the loss of their self-determination and self-responsibility, but above all the lack of concentration on priority tasks, which was due to the idealistic exuberance of the founding period. "It seems that in Germany of that time there was hardly any distress the fight against which was not included in the work programme of Caritas by Werthmann, who had thus made it also a duty for himself. He devoted himself to workers and students, sailors and tramps as well as to servants, orphans or handicapped persons, drinkers or offenders. He took care of railway mission, juvenile court, emigration assistance, health care. He supported women's education, infant care and family care, accompagnied the establishment and promotion of kindergartens and day nurseries, of recreational and medicinal facilities. In restless insistence, with no regard to his health Werthmann has devoted himself to those almost innumerable tasks." {15}

Since the national euphoria of the first years of war led to increased efforts of the state social policy and to an increase in free humanitarian initiatives, Werthmann had to realize that Caritas in its then state was neither able to cope with the enormous tasks of war nor with the competition in the field of welfare work caused by the war. By close contacts with interested representatives of the episcopate the President of Caritas adopted the recommendation of the Paderborn Bishop Karl Joseph Schulte (1910-1920): to associate himself more closely than before with the church, whereas the bishops wanted first of all to be fully informed about the situation of the association.



As the amalgamation of the Caritas Association had not sprung from the initiative of the Church hierarchy but from the supra-diocesan commitment of free Catholic forces, and since the President of Caritas had attached too little value to confidence-building measures, there was in the majority of the episcopate still noticeable a strong distrust of the new lay organization, which had to be overcome as quickly as possible. Since Bishop Schulte advised Werthmann against taking up his pen, the Jesuit Father Constantin Noppel (1885-1945), who worked since the outbreak of war as a military hospital chaplain in Berlin, from 1919 onward as youth minister in Munich and from 1922 as country director of the Caritas in Bavaria, was engaged to draft a memorandum. In his remarkable memorandum, which on 17 August 1915 was discussed in detail by the German Bishops' Conference in Fulda, Noppel spoke out against the monopolization of the public welfare work and against an inter-denominational free welfare work and pointed to the lack of resources, thoroughly qualified and numerically sufficient management personalities as well as professional workers (Caritas secretaries) and uniform organization.

In order to eradicate these three crucial weaknesses of Caritas, it is necessary to fill the numerous organizational gaps and to win the support and promotion by the ecclesiastical authority, so that Caritas becomes the "life-giving heart of the entire German Catholic charitable work." {16}

The Freiburg Archbishop Thomas Nörber (1898-1920), whose supplementary paper confirmed Noppel's main thesis also supported the consistent application of the subsidiarity principle, when he stated that the "appropriate combination of centralization and decentralization" was the main feature of the proposed organization. "The main work", Nörber said, "must always be done in the periphery, i.e. by individual associations, which therefore must not be disturbed in their particular nature. The umbrella organisation [Zentralvereinigung], on the other hand, has the task to ensure that everything is OK and is done in the right attitude, that actual wants are not overlooked, but also that no work is done twice." {17} He regarded the "appropriate interconnection of contact with the ecclesiastical authority and unimpeded freedom of action" the second main feature {18}.



Although the Fulda Bishops' Conference only minuted the "express consensus of the members" {19} about the aforementioned guidelines but made no decision, exactly this was asserted by Werthmann in the journal "Caritas": "In August 1915, the German Bishops assembled in Fulda have unanimously passed a resolution on the organization of Charitas in their dioceses and have linked the diocesan Caritas organizations with the German Caritas Association [allgemeinen Caritasverband]. This highly pleasant fact marks a decisive milestone in the Caritas movement." {20}

In reality, however, the bishops took the decision to recognize the statute a year later, after they had discussed the guidelines about the financing of the central office, which had been worked out at a Frankfurt conference of the association in July 1916. "The Bishops' Conference acknowledges the Caritas Association for Catholic Germany as the legitimate centralization of the diocesan associations into a uniform organization" {21}, reads the crucial sentence. In two other points, however, they demanded the revision of the Association Statute and the assimilation of the statutes of the diocesan Caritas organizations as well as the creation of a monitoring authority for the activities and management of the central office. The latter was established as central council - the later conference of the chairmen and directors of the diocesan associations. Thus, Werthmann, who was used to decide in an authoritarian manner, purchased the acceptance of his work by the Church through a significant reduction of his leadership role. "Promotion for control" {22} - one could put the agreement with the bishops in a nutshell.

Compliant with the ideas of the Fulda Bishops' Conference the members of the future central council held under the chairmanship of the President of Caritas in October 1916 in Cologne a first meeting, where also the new statute was discussed, which in August 1917 was approved by the episcopacy. However, it was again connected with a reservation, which was aimed at preventing an excessive increase in the power of the general association to the disadvantage of the bishop (and the professional associations). "Basic law for every Catholic Caritas movement is that both the Caritas associations and professional association are subject to the supreme leadership of the Diocesan Bishop" {23}, it said here. All in all, the development from 1915 to 1917 can be summarized with Hans-Josef Wollasch:



"The organizational and financial crisis of Caritas, which became evident after the outbreak of war, was a welcome opportunity for the bishops to subject this super-diocesan Catholic organization, which had become very independent under Werthmann's leadership, to the supervision of the Church. The interplay of support and supervision of the association had of course to overcome a phase of tension and disagreements, until it in the early twenties lead to a productive cooperation. Centerpiece and focal point of this process is the recognition of the association in 1916 by the bishops, a far-sighted decision by which they created the foundation for the development of Caritas as social service of the Catholic Church in Germany." {24}

"The Church has accepted my work," {25} Werthmann commented with great relief, and now the way was opened for establishing Caritas associations in all dioceses. But even before in the eight dioceses of Bavaria from 1918 to 1922 such associations were established, in 1917 the "Katholische Caritasverband für das Königreich Bayern" [Catholic Caritas Association for the Kingdom of Bavaria] was founded as an umbrella organization - in firm agreement with the Bavarian episcopate united in the Freising Bishops' Conference. For financial reasons this separate path, however, ended already a few years later into the German Caritas Association, because as early as 1920 it was evident that the continued existence of a separate association for the Free State depended on the granting of an annual collection throughout the national church. This visibly shook the belief of the Bavarian bishops in its necessity but had no immediate consequences, otherwise there would have been the risk to lose one's face by admitting a shameful miscalculation, and to reveal an embarrassing weakness especially to Werthmann. Especially the Munich Archbishop Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber intimated clearly the concern that the dissolution of the association after such a short time could harm the reputation of the church. However, immediately after Werthmann's death negotiations took place, which lead to the connection of the Bavarian diocesan Caritas associations to the Freiburg association and the founding of the Bavarian Caritas Association and the head office in Munich (1922). Now the "Caritas Association for Catholic Germany" could rightly be renamed "German Caritas Association".



3rd "By his Spirit of Prayer Mr. Prelate was our Role Model" {26}

Already in the grammar school Werthmann was described as "very religious" {27} and was early determined to study at the Germanicum and thus to become priest {28}. On 14 March 1880 he wrote down in his "Religious Diary": "I want to be out and out Catholic, and to become a priest to the core. Striving to express wholeheartedly the character of Catholic priesthood. Energy and determination, zeal for the glory of God and his holy church." {29} A poem from 1881 shows how much Lorenz Werthmann had internalized the exaggerated and unrealistic ideal of priesthood {30}:

    "No spirit is so sublime, so noble
    No name is whispered by the endless sea,
    That worthily sang from the inmost core:
    Grand priest of the divine covenant.

    O priest, you are so noble, so great
    Thou remove the fetters of our sin
    Thou open for earth the heavenly path,
    Thou elevate people's hearts to God
    Transfigure the souls, envelop them in deity." {31}

Against this background, it is not surprising that Werthmann time and again looked at himself "with serious self-criticism, constantly plagued by doubts" {32}: "4 ½ years are too long a time in order to come to one's senses and to realize that it cannot go on like this. And it is so little, if one concedes only two years to oneself in order to become a holy priest. And yet it must be done. ... My imperfections must be overcome: messiness, absent-mindedness, sensuality and haughtiness, vehemence." {33} But his struggle, of which also the annual, in 1883, the year of his ordination even repeated retreats are a proof, was crowned with success: He was "a happy priest" {34} and remained it all his life.



Later, the multitude of his duties allowed Werthmann often only time for private spiritual exercises. But for a number of years, formal spiritual exercises are verifiable at various places; he made them mostly in Holy Week {35}. In 1893, for the first time the intensification of charity is in detailed form found among the resolutions which he on such occasions wrote down in his "Religious Diary": "My leading virtue shall be charity, a truly priestly and social virtue, which is the most needed in our time and springs from the heart of Jesus" {36}. It is discernible in this intent that also Werthmann practised the devotion to the Sacred Heart, which was in the late 19 century a popular form of piety {37}. It seems therefore to be no accident that it was exactly the Church of the Sacred Heart at Montmartre in Paris, where he in Easter week 1899 made the vow, "to be always a loyal servant of the poor and an energetic supporter of the cause of charity, and never to strive for ecclesiastical positions (benefices)" {38}. In January 1902, on the occasion of his spiritual exercises in the Capucine monastery in Königshofen in Alsace, he renewed this vow. Werthmann even repeatedly gave retreats for female teachers, e.g. in 1897 in Baden-Baden and in 1902 in the Alsatian Ebersmünster. The available report about it shows that Werthmann knew how to fascinate the 53 participants through his eloquence and how to convince them that their "work and activities within school and outside of it would not mean to serve people but God" {39}.

Whenever it was possible, he celebrated daily the Eucharist. To read the breviary was a matter of course for him and a willingly fulfilled obligation. In addition, he prayed a lot and long {40}, and drew from it an unshakable, almost "childlike pious" trust in God {41}. Werthmann was gladly a pastor, although he - except for a few months in Frankfurt in 1885 - never was obliged to do pastoral care, due to his position in the church {42}.



For two decades he served in the Catholic Institute in Freiburg, a secondary school for girls with a boarding school, as a confessor and spiritual director, celebrated there the Eucharist and held prayer meetings and gave sermons. Anyhow, the preaching was one of his domains - be it in front of Italian workers, on festive occasions, or as part of larger sermon series. So he took over in the period 1889 to 1903 several times in Freiburg and Heidelberg cycles of 5 to 6 Lenten sermons, which dealt with a wide range of subjects {43}.

1903 was the year of death of Leo XIII, whom Werthmann deeply revered since his stay in the Eternal City, and whom he acclaimed as "hero of charity" and "light in the sky", as "he in Rome had taken a deep draught of the love for the papacy in Rome" {44}, and at almost all Caritas Days he sent a telegram of homage to the successor of Peter. Even five (Caritas) pilgrimages for thousands of people he led in 1900 (twice), 1903, 1909 and 1913 to Rome {45}, where he always took the opportunity to report personally on the development of Caritas and to invoke the Papal Blessing for his work. But he was in no way influenced by narrow-mindedness or even fanaticism towards persons of a different faith {46}, on the contrary, after overcoming some skepticism {47} he watched with a benevolent interest the activities of non-Catholic associations, as e.g. of the Deutscher Vereinr für Armenpflege und Wohltätigkeit, the Arbeiterwohlfahrt, the Nationalkonferenz gegen Mädchenhandel and especially of the Protestant Innere Mission (now Evangelische Diakonie); Werthmann and the magazine "Caritas" have repeatedly acknowledged the work and the founding fathers of the latter {48}.



4th The Final Years

His outstanding oratorical talent and his strong involvement in all sectors of the Caritas work compelled Werthmann for most of the year to travel: Caritas Days, Catholic Days, board meetings of professional associations, national and international conferences even of non-Catholic welfare associations took turns, and also the aforementioned leadership during numerous pilgrimages - including Switzerland and France {49} - kept him busy. Half a year before his death he still planned a trip to South America in order to acquaint himself with the fate of Germans living there and to promote the work of Caritas. But since 1917 he was plagued by a heart disease; its contributory causes were undoubtedly overexertion, strain of travelling, and disappointments. He continued, however, working tirelessly also in the Freiburg head office of Caritas, which he always had managed tightly. He demanded punctuality, accuracy and endurance of every employee. He, who had invested all his personal funds into his life's work and for whom "vacation" was a foreign word, expected also from his employees that they, despite low payment, would sacrifice often the evening, the Sunday and sometimes even the vacation. It is therefore not surprising that Arthur Hugh Klieber, Secretary General of Caritas, once bitterly complained that Werthmann showed no "social sensitivity towards his abominably low paid employees", and that the mood was correspondingly poor. "Due to the stinginess of the Mr. Prelate we lose by and by the best workers; what remains is excessive bureaucracy [großer Wasserkopf]. It is pitiful." {50} But Werthmann could not imagine that not all dedicated themselves to their work with the same enthusiasm and for God's reward like he.

But through this commitment over many years he had worn down his health. The last three months of his life Werthmann spent in the Freiburg Joseph Hospital. "On 6 and 7 April 1921 a meeting of the Central Committee and the Central Council of Caritas took place there. The President, who was recently appointed Apostolic Protonotary, was brought in an invalid chair into the conference hall, in order once again, 'with obvious effort', to thank his staff for their help and their prayers. Before he, at the age of 62, suddenly died on 10 April 1921 he said, 'My entire life I have devoted to organizing the Caritas association. I did it without knowing how agreeable the facilities are. Now I experience it first-hand.'" {51}



{1} About Werthmann's life and work W. Liese, Lorenz Werthmann und der Deutsche Caritasverband. Freiburg 1929 (quoted as Werthmann); M. Eder, „Helfen macht nicht ärmer". Von der kirchlichen Armenfürsorge zur modernen Caritas. Altötting 1997, 315-323 and oftener; The same, article Werthmann, Lorenz, in: ³LThK 10 (2001), 1111; P. Neher and others, Lorenz Werthmann. Caritasmacher und Visionär. Freiburg 2008 and K. Borgmann (editor), Lorenz Werthmann. Reden und Schriften. Freiburg 1958.

{2} Quoted from F. Ebert, Lorenz Werthmann 1858-1921, in: Nassauische Lebensbilder 6 (1961), 294-304, here 296.

{3} Quoted from Wollasch, Lorenz Werthmann (1858-1921), in: Aretz and others (editors), Zeitgeschichte in Lebensbildern, volume 4, Mainz 1980, 79-91, here 81.

{4} See F. Ebert, Werthmann (note 2), 298.

{5} F. Hitze, Organisation der katholischen Caritas, in: Charitas 1 (1896), 22-27, 43f., hier 22.

{6} In Prussia, there were from 1875 to 1933 in every province the Landesdirektor, an official who was elected by and presided the Provinziallandtag [County Council] and who run the day to day business together with the adjunct expert officials, the Landesräten.

{7} It is remarkable that the spelling "Charitas" was already in October 1909 (15th year's issues) changed to "Caritas". As Lorenz Werthmann with reference to the book of Franz Schaub, teacher at the Regensburg girls' high school Die katholische Caritas und ihre Gegner [The Catholic Caritas and its Opponents] (Mönchen-Gladbach 1909, here 2-5)explained in the association journal (Caritas 15 [1909/10], 24 f.), the word is not derived from the Greek charis, which means in the language of the Bible always "grace," "favour" or "thanks" and reads in Latin gratia, but is rather the Latin translation of the Greek agape ("love"). "This convincing, valuable finding ... prompted us to apply in future in all our writings the correct spelling of 'Caritas'." (See loc. cit., 25)

{8} Quoted from Wollasch, "Der an sich schöne Gedanke der Caritas" und die Geburtswehen des Verbandes 1897, in: Jahrbuch des Deutschen Caritasverbandes 1988, 311-333, here 324.

{9} See Werthmann, 135.

{10} Quoted from loc. cit., 135-137.

{11} M. Patzek, Im Dienste der Jugend — offen dem Anruf der Zeit. Elisabeth Denis und IN VIA — Deutscher Verband katholischer Mädchensozialarbeit. Freiburg 1989 (thesis typewritten), 144 (The wording of Werthmann's speech in: Charitas 4 [1899], 210-217, here 211 f.).

{12} Both quotations from A. Wollasch, Die Caritas war seine Lebensleistung, in: P. Neher, Werthmann (note 1), 17-32, here 27f.

{13} These were the diocesan associations for Limburg (1897), Freiburg, Strasbourg (both 1903), Warmia (1906), Metz (1909) and Breslau (1910); and in 1913 the Caritas association for the Silesian Grafschaft Glatz was added, which belonged to the Archdiocese of Prague. In 1915 the group was extended by Paderborn, in 1916 by the associations for the dioceses of Fulda, Cologne, Münster, Osnabrück and Trier, and in 1917 by those for Berlin (Delegature), Hildesheim and Mainz. Today, there are in all 27 German bishoprics diocesan Caritas associations.

{14} Local Caritas associations existed then in Altona, Berlin, Wroclaw, Gdansk, Dortmund, Düren, Erfurt, Essen, Frankfurt, Glatz, Görlitz, Hanover, Hildesheim, Hindenburg (formerly Zabrze), Cologne, Legnica, Mannheim, Munich, Neiße, Neustadt (Upper Silesia), Regensburg, Szczecin, Walbrzych and Wattenscheid. Today in Germany all in all 528 local and districtwide Caritas associations exist.

{15} H.-J. Wollasch, Werthmann (note 3), 86.

{16} See C. Noppel, Denkschrift über den Ausbau der katholischen Caritasorganisation. Freiburg 1915, 13.

{17} Th. Nörber, Organisation der katholischen Caritas; Quoted from E. Gatz, Akten der Fuldaer Bischofskonferenz, volume 3: 1900-1919. Mainz 1985, 251 f.

{18} See loc. cit., 252.

{19} Quoted from E. Gatz, Akten (note 17), 236.

{20} L. Werthmann, Die hochwürdigsten deutschen Bischöfe und die Caritasorganisation, in: Caritas 21 (1915/16), 157-163, here 157; See also the same, Die Bedeutung der Fuldaer Bischofsbeschlüsse über die Organisation der Caritas im katholischen Deutschland, in: loc. cit. 22 (1916), 2-7.

{21} Resolution at the 4th session of the Fulda Bishops' Conference on 23 August 1916; Quoted from E. Gatz, Akten (note 17), 266.

{22} See H.-J. Wollasch, Ein Kaufmannssohn aus Radolfzell als Pionier für Jugendpflege und Seelsorge. Zum 100. Geburtstag von P. Constantin Noppel SJ (1883-1945), in: Hegau 28 / issue 40 (1983), 7-58, here 12. — It should be noted here that the bishops' right to supervision has its base not in the pastoral authority of the bishops but in the statutes of the DCV; from there it gets its contents and its limitation. Since according to the statute of the association the bishops have no right to intervene in the decisions of the organs of the German Caritas Association, it remains an association of the Voluntary Welfare Work on its own responsibility and power of disposal. It admittedly regards itself as Catholic but not as ecclesiastical association.

{23} Minutes of the 6th session of the Fulda Bishops' Conference on 23 August 1917; Quoted from H.-J. Wollasch, Caritasverband und katholische Kirche in Deutschland, in: Jahrbuch des Deutschen Caritasverbandes 1972, 59-75, here 64.

{24} Ibidem.

{25} Quoted from F. Ebert, Werthmann (note 2), 300.

{26} Fanny Bell, chairwoman of the association of Catholic commercial assistants and officials "Veritas" to Wilhelm Liese, 10 August 1925 (Quoted from Werthmann, 537).

{27} See loc. cit., 15.

{28} See about it P. Walter, Das Collegium Germanicum und die Germaniker, in: E. Gatz (editor), Geschichte des kirchlichen Lebens in den deutschsprachigen Ländern seit dem Ende des 18. Jh., volume 4. Freiburg and others 1994, 253-263, especially 261.

{29} Quoted from Werthmann, 39.

{30} See about it G. Schwaiger, Das katholische Priesterbild der neueren Zeit, in: P. Mai (editor), 100 Jahre Priesterseminar in St. Jakob zu Regensburg 1872-1972. Regensburg 1972, 37-51, here 37-39, 49 f.; K. Baumgartner, Der Wandel des Priesterbildes zwischen dem Konzil von Trient und dem II. Vatikanischen Konzil. München 1978, 6 f., 13 and R. Zinnhobler, Der Erziehungsstil in den Priesterseminaren des 19. Jahrhunderts, in: The same, Studien zur Kirchengeschichte des Mittelalters und der Neuzeit. Linz 1996, 87-95.

{31} L. Werthmann, Die Würde des Priesters, 1st and 2nd verse; Quoted from Werthmann, 41.

{32} See A. Wollasch, Caritas (note 12), 33.

{33} L. Werthmann, Religiöses Tagebuch, record of 5 March 1882; Quoted from Werthmann, 39.

{34} See loc. cit., 41.

{35} See loc. cit., 537 f.

{36} Quoted from loc. cit., 538.

{37} See about it H. J. Limburg, article Herz Jesu, Herz-Jesu-Verehrung I 3, in: ³LThK 5 (1996), 52; N. Busch, Katholische Frömmigkeit und Moderne. Die Sozial- und Mentalitätsgeschichte des Herz-Jesu-Kultes in Deutschland zwischen Kulturkampf und Erstem Weltkrieg. Gütersloh 1997, 63-104, 201-239.

{38} Quoted from Werthmann, 539.

{39} Quoted from loc. cit., 541.

{40} Fanny Bell wrote about it in 1925 to Wilhelm Liese: "How often disappeared your religious doubt when you saw him in our chapel so lost in endless prayers. His prayer meetings that he held with us were feared by many of us, because they were too long extended in the evening for us human beings."

{41} See Wollasch, Lorenz Werthmann 1858-1921. Gründer des Deutschen Caritasverbandes, in: P. Neher, Werthmann (note 1), 33-47, here 43. — Wilhelm Wiesen wrote about Werthmann's last months: "Everyone who came into close relationship with him must become aware of one thing: his great love for the Redeemer. How often has he during his illness and pain uttered the name of Jesus, calling for help or expressing his resignation!" (The same, Prälat Dr. L. Werthmann. Kurze Erinnerungsblätter über seine Krankheit und seinen Tod. Freiburg 1921, 6).

{42} Since Werthmann regarded the "Seelenpflege" [care for man's soul] as essential element of the care for the poor and of Caritas, he could definitely see himself also in his main profession as pastor.

{43} See Werthmann, 540: "What impression his sermons made you may learn from the fact that even men of literary reputation ... often quoted him."

{44} All quotations from loc. cit., 542. But because of the aforementioned things, Liese's assertion that Werthmann had paid also to "the episcopal authority truly touching reverence" (See loc. cit., 543) has at least to be relativised, because if this had really been the case, Werthmann would from the beginning have more involved the German bishops and later also better informed.

{45} See about it loc. cit., 496 f., 500-516.

{46} Already during his studies he had, as he wrote in 1897, "attended lectures of Protestant and Jewish university professors with benefit and joy" (Quoted from loc. cit., 73).

{47} In the obituary of the "Deutschen Vereins für öffentliche und private Fürsorge" for Werthmann it says, "He had to overcome a strong mistrust of the inter-denominational work, and there were various conflicts. But, wise as he was, he nevertheless recognized the necessity and the inner value of co-operation with the de facto existing efforts outside the church."; Quoted from loc. cit., 536.

{48} See K. Borgmann (editor), Reden und Schriften (note 1), 29 f., 40 f.; Werthmann, 543-545 and A. Wollasch, Caritas (note 12), 26 f., 29-31.

{49} See about it Werthmann, 498-500, 516-519.

{50} Both quotations from H. J. Wollasch, Werthmann (note 3), 89.

{51} Quoted from loc. cit., 90.


Link to 'Public Con-Spiration for-with-of the Poor'