AS the two Germanies move ever closer to the formation of one pan-German state, the bishops of the German Democratic Republic appear to be less than comfortable with the apparent rush for unity.
Although the hierarchies of the GDR and its western counterpart have expressed joy at the peaceful nature of the revolution in East Germany, the recent all German Bishops' Conference was not attended by the full quota of prelates from the East.
The absence of the East German bishops at the conference caused irritation among some of the delegates from West Germany, and a statement issued after the meeting stressed that the two hierarchies should eventually become one. This was endorsed by the contingent of 11 bishops from East Germany which did participate in the conference.
The conference said that although the coming unification of Germany "is viewed with concern" by neighbouring states, particularly Poland, such worries were unjustified and a united Germany would be a trustworthy partner in the community of Europe.
It was also announced that in future bishops from the GDR would attend the plenary sessions of the West German bishops' conference and delegates from the West will do likewise in the East. But for the time being the two hierarchies will remain separate.