Ludwig Schick

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Ludwig Schick (2007)

Ludwig Schick (* 22 September 1949 in Marburg) is Archbishop of Bamberg and Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Bamberg. He was previously vicar general and auxiliary bishop in Fulda, as well as professor of canon law at the Faculty of Theology in Fulda.


Youth and education

Ludwig Schick was born on September 22, 1949, the second child of tax inspector Josef Schick and his wife Auguste in Marburg, Hesse. The family moved to Mardorf, a few kilometers away. After attending the St. Johann Collegiate School in Amöneburg, he passed his Abitur in 1969. He then studied Catholic theology and philosophy at the Faculty of Theology in Fulda and at the Julius Maximilian University in Würzburg. Since 1972 he has been a member of the Catholic student fraternity W.K.St.V. Unitas-Hetania zu Würzburg. On 15 June 1975 he received the sacrament of priestly ordination from Bishop Eduard Schick, to whom he is not related, in Fulda Cathedral and then worked as chaplain in Neuhof (near Fulda) and as president of the local Kolping family. Afterwards he devoted himself to doctoral studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, from which he graduated on November 19, 1980, with a dissertation on the topic Das dreifache Amt Christi und der Kirche. On the Origin and Development of the Trilogies.

Ecclesiastical career

Ludwig Schick (centre) at the opening of the Tent of Religions (Bamberg 2012)

Schick taught in Fulda from 1981 and at the Catholic Seminary of the Philipps University in Marburg from 1985 to 2002, holding the chair of Canon Law.

From 1981 to 1987 he was a member of staff at the Episcopal Office in Fulda and from 1981 to 1993 ecumenical adviser and chairman of the Ecumenical Commission. In 1987 he was appointed cathedral chaplain in the diocese of Fulda and on 1 September 1995 was appointed vicar general of the diocese. Pope John Paul II, who had already conferred on him the title of Pontifical Prelate of Honour in 1996, appointed Schick titular bishop of Auzia and auxiliary bishop in Fulda on 20 May 1998. Archbishop Johannes Dyba consecrated him bishop on 12 July of the same year. His motto was: Sapientia nobis a Deo (“Jesus Christ, our wisdom, given by God)”. During his time in Fulda he was also President of the Kolping Family Rothemann.

On 28 June 2002, he was appointed archbishop in the archdiocese of Bamberg by John Paul II[1] and on 21 September of the same year was solemnly inaugurated by the Apostolic Nuncio Giovanni Lajolo. On 29 June 2003 Schick received the pallium from Pope John Paul II in Rome.

In the German Bishops’ Conference Schick is a member of the World Church Commission and the Pastoral Commission. At the Autumn General Assembly 2006, he was also elected as successor to Franz Kamphaus as Chairman of the Commission for the World Church of the German Bishops’ Conference, which, among other things, coordinates the work of the Catholic aid agencies Missio, Misereor, Adveniat and Renovabis.

In 2007 he was appointed Grand Officer of the Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem by Cardinal Grand Master John Patrick Cardinal Foley and invested on 15 September 2007 by Reinhard Marx, Grand Prior of the German Statthood.

The sporting activities of Schicks were honoured by Horst Seehofer on the occasion of his 60th birthday in 2009: in the sense of networking the Catholic Church with other socially relevant cultural carriers, he intensified the pastoral commitment in sports clubs or in the context of the football World Cup, a commitment which is supported in its credibility by personal activities in the sporting field.[2]

Functions and memberships

Ludwig Schick in Africa 2009

Ludwig Schick is a member of the following inter-diocesan committees:

  • German Bishops’ Conference:[3]
    • Commission for the Universal Church since 1998, its chairman since September 2006.
    • Pastoral Commission (Vice Chair).
    • Representative of the German Bishops’ Conference for pastoral care of men since November 2001.
    • Member of the steering group “Prayer and Hymn Book” since April 2002.
  • Vice-president of the Freising Bishops’ Conference, since September 2002.


Archbishop Ludwig Schick established two foundations in Bamberg, the Family Foundation Kinderreich[4] and the Bread for All People Foundation.[5]

Family Foundation Kinderreich

The Family Foundation Kinderreich is intended to put into practice Schick’s ideas about families. According to these, the family is the original cell of social and ecclesiastical life. It is here that a holistic education in being human is imparted. From Schicks’ point of view, values such as consideration, helpfulness, forgiveness and new beginnings are promoted daily in the family.

Bread for All Foundation

With his Bread for All People Foundation, Schick pursues a threefold objective. Firstly, it aims to promote small-scale agriculture in developing countries. It also wants to help ensure that small farmers have access to high-quality seeds, fertilisers and irrigation systems. The second pillar of the foundation is the transfer of know-how, especially in agricultural training. Here, an agricultural school is to be supported in Senegal or Niger. Thirdly, funds are to be made available for acute emergencies, especially in the Sahel and in the north of Africa, where there are repeated crop failures after extraordinary periods of drought. Funding will be made available for people at risk of starvation to purchase food.

Archbishop coat of arms

Archbishop’s coat of arms

The blazon is as follows: squared; in fields 1 and 4 in gold a right-facing black lion covered with a silver slanting right bar and armed in red; in field 2 in red a silver book, the cover of which is decorated with the interlaced Greek letters tau and rho, the staurogram, drawn in black, and on its sides the letters alpha and omega; in field 3 in blue a woven silver basket with five silver loaves.

Symbolism: Field 1 and 4 show the coat of arms of the archdiocese of Bamberg, field 2 and 3 the private components of the previous suffragan coat of arms. Book and loaves stand for the Word of God in the Gospel and for the Eucharist, at the same time also for the Fulda diocesan saints Boniface (Book of the Good News) and Elisabeth of Thuringia (Loaves of Charity). Biographically, they symbolize Marburg as the place of baptism and Fulda as the place of consecration of Ludwig Schicks.

The shield is surrounded by the heraldic signs of rank of a metropolitan (archbishop): the golden double cross, the green prelate’s hat with ten green tassels on strings on each side and the white pallium. The pallium and the two-barred cross are the signs of rank of a reigning metropolitan of an ecclesiastical province. Below the shield and pallium, on a white ribbon, is the personal motto of destiny: “Sapientia nobis a Deo” – “The wisdom given to us by God” (1 Cor 1:30).

Episcopal insignia

“Council Ring”, as given by Pope Paul VI to all participating bishops at the end of the Second Vatican Council in 1965

The mitre is a gift for Schick’s episcopal ordination from the parish in which he worked for 22 years as Subsidiar. It was made by Sister Hilaris Haarengel OSB in the Benedictine Abbey of the Holy Mary in Fulda. Schick attached importance to a deliberately simple design. In the middle there is an embroidered cross decorated with a single pearl. For him this means: As bishop I have to point beyond myself to Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord. He with his Gospel is the pearl for which everything is worth selling in order to acquire it.

The pectoral cross was made at Münsterschwarzach Abbey. The diagram IHS (Jesus) is painted in gold on a silver background. The meaning of the diagram changed from antiquity to the Middle Ages from a mere name symbol to a message of salvation. The theologians of the Middle Ages understood IHS to be the abbreviation for Jesus Hominum Salvator = Jesus, Redeemer of Men. Schick understands the symbol on his pectoral cross in the medieval reading as a reference to Jesus, in whom God became man.

The bishop ‘s ring is a genuine Council ring, which Pope Paul VI gave to all the bishops at the end of the Council. It is a gift from Eduard Schick, who attended all the sessions of the Council. Schick understands the ring as a sign of loyalty both to his archdiocese and to the post-conciliar Church.


Ludwig Schick (2011)

Importance of church music

Schick also understands worship celebrations as an effective healing space in which human beings can come back into harmony with their best powers. In this framework, according to Schick, church music unfolds a therapeutic effect in that it leads – and this applies to both harmonic and dissonant compositions – the disharmony of the world to the harmony of God and can thus bring about healing. Schick emphasizes the missionary character of church music, which artistically high-quality music is capable of realizing. “Church music allows God to be felt and perceived by creating silence and leading into the depths of the human soul.”[6]

Reforms in the Church

In connection with the affair surrounding Bishop Walter Mixa in 2010, Schick spoke out in favor of a renewal of the Church. In addition, he presented considerations for a relaxation of the celibacy of Catholic priests as well as for a stronger commitment of women in the church.[7]


In his function as chairman of the Commission for the Universal Church, Schick calls for a more conscious use of food, which is irresponsibly wasted in the Western world. The Archbishop describes the climate change caused by the industrial nations as the main cause of hunger in the poor countries, where due to drought or floods ever smaller harvests could be achieved. Therefore, the next UN climate conference must bring concrete results againstCO2 emissions, the monopolization of food as well as the purchase of large areas of land and water must be prevented. People in the industrialized nations would have to do their part to reduce hunger in the world by eating consciously, saving energy and refraining from consumption. “When arable land, food and water supplies become objects of speculation for the rich of this world, the poor are the total losers.”[8]

Anti-blasphemy law

In early August 2012, following a controversial publication by the satirical magazine Titanic that had appeared shortly before, Schick called for blasphemy to be punishable in the future. He stated in this context: “Whoever injures the soul of believers with mockery and derision must be put in his place and, if necessary, also punished” and demanded that a “law against the mockery of religious values and feelings” should protect not only Christianity, but all religions. Mockery and satire of religious attitudes constituted a violation of human dignity.[9] Schick explained that although Section 166 of the Criminal Code exists, it has been completely forgotten and is hardly ever used.[10] No mockery or ridicule should be allowed against “holy persons, holy scriptures, services and prayers as well as holy objects and devices of all religions”.

Schicks’s demand sparked controversy. Thomas Goppel (CSU) supported the request, other parties (FDP, SPD and Die Linke) rejected it.[11] Volker Beck, parliamentary director of the Green Party, said, “Believers don’t need any different protection under criminal law from defamation, insults and incitement than other social groups.” Franz Maget, a church expert for the Bavarian SPD, said the move was unnecessary because blasphemy was not a relevant social problem. The satirical website Der Postillon also picked up on Schick’s remarks.[12]

Condemnation of the witch craze

On 27 August 2012, the Archdiocese of Bamberg condemned the witch mania involving the persecution and killing of innocent people and reaffirmed its 2007 petition for forgiveness. This petition also applies today and for the future, Archbishop Schick emphasized, adding, “Catholic officials and other church members have committed injustice. Terrible things have happened to the victims and their families. The trials that were held are injustice according to our understanding of the law today, and the sentences are therefore null and void.”[13]

Against racism and anti-Semitism

Bishop Schick repeatedly publicly opposed racist and anti-Semitic statements and movements.

In connection with the dismissal in the summer of 2013 of a Bamberg student from the Würzburg seminary who, according to an external commission of inquiry, had told at least three “completely unacceptable and intolerable concentration camp jokes” and had also imitated Adolf Hitler, Schick commented: “I am extremely concerned about anti-Semitic and racist statements and tendencies as well as the glorification of Nazi symbols and nationalism in our society – especially when it happens in the church space.”[14]

During a sermon on 18 December 2014 in Drügendorf, Upper Franconia, Schick expressed his disapproval of the actions of the anti-Islam protest movement Pegida. He did not contradict Pegida’s core thesis that Islam was becoming stronger. The problem, however, was that Christianity was becoming weaker. Instead of demonstrating, Christians should enter into a “dialogue of truth and love with those who think differently”.[15] Even after protests against this statement, Schick emphatically reiterated his appeal to all Christians not to participate in Pegida actions. In justification, he wrote that Pegida, according to analyses by experts and institutions, was something that was “wholly or partly inconsistent with Christian principles and the values of the Gospel.”[16] Subsequently, Schick received – according to the diocese “daily” – in letters, mails and on Facebook hate comments up to death threats.[17]

After Schick had answered at a panel discussion in Nuremberg in November 2016 to the question whether the Catholic Church would also accept a Muslim as Federal President that the Church would accept any decision made by a democratic majority, he received hostility and death threats especially from supporters of the AfD. The mayors of the bishop’s city of Bamberg strongly condemned the “hate speech” against the archbishop.[18] Schick added that he doubted, however, that such a decision “would find the backing of society”.[19]

Commenting on the attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March 2019, Schick said that anyone aware of the name of that city must feel revulsion.[20]

Criticism of President Trump

In January 2021, following the storming of the United States Capitol on 6 January 2021, in which there had been five fatalities, Ludwig Schick declared that those who had invaded the Capitol would have to be brought to justice; President Donald Trump could not be exempt from this. As head of state, Donald Trump had fueled the division of society in his own country and promoted the disintegration of the international community.[21]

Publications (selection)


  • The threefold ministry of Christ and the Church. On the Origin and Development of the Trilogies. Gang Verlag Frankfurt am Main/Bern 1982, ISBN 3-8204-5981-2 (dissertation 1980).
  • The Parish. Reflections on a theological-canonistic definition of place. EOS Verlag St. Ottilien 1988, ISBN 3-88096-426-2.
  • …and became man. A companion for the Advent and Christmas season. Herder Verlag 2006, ISBN 978-3-451-29251-4.
  • Our Father – Reflections. Heinrichs-Verlag Bamberg 2008, ISBN 978-3-89889-136-3.
  • Paul in Christ – for Christ. Heinrichs-Verlag Bamberg 2008, ISBN 978-3-89889-137-0.
  • What the Bamberg Cathedral can tell us. Heinrichs Verlag Bamberg 2012.
  • Bernhard Lichtenberg – Aspects of his Life and Work for Us Today. In Barbara Stühlmeyer, Ludger Stühlmeyer: Bernhard Lichtenberg. I will follow my conscience. Topos plus Verlagsgemeinschaft, Kevelaer 2013, ISBN 978-3-836708-35-7, pp. 82-86.


Ludwig Schick (2018)

  • 1986: Papal Chaplain of Honour, appointed by Pope John Paul II.
  • 1996: Papal Prelate of Honour, appointed by Pope John Paul II.
  • 2007: Admission to the Order of Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem
  • 2007: Federal Cross of Merit I. Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • 2010: Bavarian Constitutional Medal in Gold
  • 2010: Honorary citizen of Polanów in Pomerania[22]
  • 2012: City Law and Collegiate Medal of the City of Bamberg
  • Ring of honour of the city of Fulda
  • 2013: Bavarian Order of Merit
  • 2015: Honorary citizenship of the town of Amöneburg


  • Michael Kleiner and Elke Pilkenroth: Mein Glaube lebt vom DU. Insights into the work and everyday life of the Archbishop of Bamberg Ludwig Schick. Bayerische Verlagsanstalt Bamberg 2009, ISBN 978-3-89889-150-9.
  • Wilfried Dettling and Siegfried Grillmeyer. In collaboration with the Caritas-Pirckheimer-Haus Academy: Igniting the Fire: The Gospel Message in a Global World. Echter, Würzburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-429-03191-6.

Web links

Commons: Ludwig Schick– Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual references

  1. Nomina dell’Arcivescovo Metropolita di Bamberg (Repubblica Federale di Germania). In: Press Office of the Holy See: Daily Bulletin of 28 June 2002.
  2. Michael Kleiner and Elke Pilkenroth: Mein Glaube lebt vom DU. Insights into the work and everyday life of the Archbishop of Bamberg Ludwig Schick. Bayerische Verlagsanstalt, Bamberg 2009.
  3. German Bishops’ Conference: Press release of 20 September 2016, No. 175
  4. Familienstiftung Kinderreich Retrieved October 2011.
  5. Bread for All People Foundation(Memento of 24 December 2009 in the Internet Archive) retrieved October 2011.
  6. Interview with Archbishop Ludwig Schick. In: Musica sacra 124th Jahrgang Heft 2, Bärenreiter Kassel 2004, p. 10.
  7. Interview with Archbishop Ludwig Schick. In: Spiegel online on 8 May 2010.
  8. Archbishop Ludwig Schick on World Food Day 2011. In: Heinrichsblatt, Church Newspaper of the Archdiocese of Bamberg 118th Volume No. 43. Bamberg 23 October 2011.
  9. Bishop demands anti-blasphemy law. In:, 1 August 2012
  10. Debate on blasphemy ban. In:, 2 August 2012
  11. Possible blasphemy ban finds no support among parties. In:, 2 August 2012
  12. Blasphemy Archbishop considers God too weak to punish blasphemy itself.The Postillon, 2 August 2012, retrieved 3 August 2012.
  13. Archdiocese of Bamberg condemns witch craze and reiterates plea for forgiveness Statement by Archbishop Schick, August 27, 2012.
  14. Nazi accusations in Würzburg seminary., August 1, 2013
  15. Archbishop Schick: Christians must not join Pegida.Rheinische Post Online, 18 December 2014, retrieved 22 January 2015.
  16. New criticism of, 22 December 2014, retrieved 22 January 2015.
  17. Criticism of Pegida: Bishop receives death threats., March 9, 2016
  18. Report in the regional channel TV-Oberfranken
  19. Schick: Muslim federal president would be justifiable, Vatican Radio, 29 October 2016, accessed 10 January 2017
  20. 49 dead: worldwide horror after terror attack in New Zealand., 15 March 2019.
  21. Archbishop Schick: Trump und Kapitol-Stürmer gehören vor Gericht , 8. Januar 2021.
  22. Video from 12 June 2010
Predecessor Office Successor
Karl Brown Archbishop of Bamberg
since 2002