Funeral service and state ceremony for Alois Glück in Munich – Bavaria

Before the requiem begins, members of the mountain rescue service stand like a guard of honor at the coffin, which is covered with a Bavarian flag. Mountain riflemen and traditional costumers come with uniforms and flags, many political and social figures gathered on Saturday in the Munich Women’s Cathedral to say goodbye to the former state parliament president and long-time CSU parliamentary group leader Alois Glück. Glück died on February 26th at the age of 84 in a Munich clinic.

The great recognition for this man, who was not big and not loud, but more powerful than many more conspicuous politicians, becomes clear once again on this day. “Many are inspired by his testimony of faith and his life,” says Munich Archbishop Reinhard Cardinal Marx. “That becomes apparent when someone dies.”

Marx leads the funeral service, which is musically provided by the Munich Cathedral Music and the Bavarian State Orchestra with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s famous Requiem in D minor. The cardinal was closely associated with luck. In his sermon he praised Glück as a person who lived the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, and appealed to politicians and all people to do the same.

“What is missing if God is missing?” asks Marx, referring to theoretical discussions that take place about how societies change without reference to God. But it becomes concrete when people fill it out – and then they are missing. “You have to do politics with the Beatitudes,” says Marx, “Alois Glück has shown that this is possible.”

The Sermon on the Mount indicates the point of view from which we look at the world: from below, from the poor. “A Christian society doesn’t just leave anyone on the sidelines.” Glück knew that without the churches this Christian character would not exist, which is why he was so keen for the church to renew itself. That wasn’t easy; he also had to listen to a lot from the bishops, admits Marx. But luck was not deterred.

A group of mountain riflemen say goodbye to Alois Glück.


In the subsequent state ceremony, State Parliament President Ilse Aigner (CSU) literally bows “to a great politician who has done Bavaria good.” Glück was a thought leader and peacemaker and for her personally not only her predecessor in various positions, but also her role model in his attitude. Like many speakers that day, Aigner, visibly moved, pays tribute not only to what Glück did, but above all to how he did it: by listening and being able to make connections where others saw none.

Happiness was uncompromising when it became fundamental: when it was about responsibility for creation and protecting human dignity. “You were controversial with your strong convictions, but always level-headed, open to dialogue and bringing people together,” says Aigner.

She also mentions Glück’s close relationship with the mountains. He went there to be completely with himself and to be able to look at the world from a little distance. “The mountain gives you vision and at the same time keeps you grounded,” says Aigner. In addition to many other honorary positions, Glück was chairman of the mountain rescue service from 2002 to 2014 and he was particularly attached to it.

Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) calls Alois Glück one of “the most important Bavarians in post-war history,” even though he was neither prime minister nor party chairman. Nevertheless, he had a significant influence on the CSU.

The CSU in the state parliament is losing a “political pioneer,” says Klaus Holetschek

“He was his own powerhouse, his own center of power in the CSU,” says Söder. Even though the attention back then, in the post-Franz Josef Strauss era, was primarily on Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber and party leader Theo Waigel, Alois Glück always played an important role. Glück always had authority, “he never had to get along with anyone,” says Söder. The reason for this was his deep convictions and deep connection to home and nature.

Söder, who, like Ilse Aigner, first entered the state parliament in 1994, experienced happiness as his first parliamentary group leader. It wasn’t – like with Aigner – love at first sight, says Söder. “I was too bold, too fast, maybe too courageous,” he says. There is also a bit of insight: “I should have listened to him earlier, it would have saved me a lot of trouble.”

CSU parliamentary group leader Klaus Holetschek says that the state parliamentary group is losing “a formative leader and the Free State is losing an important political thought leader.” Glück left a legacy: Trust is the most important capital in politics and whether people trust those responsible to overcome the challenges well, Glück once wrote.

Holetschek says that Glück didn’t have to inappropriately sharpen and polarize because he was aware of his intellectual clout. Glück was a homo politicus in the best sense.

For the position in the ZdK, Glück had to take a step back from Donum Vitae

Irme Stetter-Karp, the President of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), puts it this way: “Luckily we were lucky.” The sentence has been said many times in the ZdK, including in the years from 2009 to 2015, when Glück held her office. “Many people breathed a sigh of relief during those years when his name was mentioned somewhere,” says Stetter-Karp. Because Glück was competent, strategically skilled, upright in thinking and acting. “You could rely on him. But above all, he was a human being.”

Glück had been a member of the ZdK since 1983, but it wasn’t entirely easy for him to take on its highest office, because to do so he had to give up his involvement in the Donum Vitae foundation and support group – otherwise the bishops might not have approved his election. Glück co-founded the association in 1999 when Rome forced German Catholics to withdraw from state-recognized conflict counseling for pregnant women. Stetter-Karp says he managed to stay in touch with the bishops and have productive conversations. And to remain a member of Donum Vitae. “After all, this was also about his life’s theme: preserving creation. Even when things get difficult.”

For happiness, being Catholic meant being a critical Catholic. This became particularly evident when the abuse scandal became public. Stetter-Karp says happiness remained a topic of conversation even during difficult periods in his life. He was able to connect with people and achieve change. “Above all, it seems to me, he managed to walk with God.”

Among the mourners are many incumbent politicians from various parties, but also the former Federal President Horst Köhler, the former Presidents of the Bundestag Rita Süssmuth and Norbert Lammert, the former Minister of Education and Ambassador to the Holy See, Annette Schavan (all CDU). And the companions of his own party: the former CSU leaders Theo Waigel and Erwin Huber, the ex-ministers Otto Wiesheu, Kurt Faltlhauser, Eberhard Sinner and others. And Bavaria’s former Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber, whom Glück often slowed down with his thoughtfulness, but also complemented him.

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