Question: As Pope you are responsible for the Church throughout the world. But., clearly, your visit focuses attention on the situation of Catholics in Germany as well. All observers say there’s a positive atmosphere, partly thanks to your election as Pope. But, obviously, the old problems are still around. Just to quote a few examples: fewer churchgoers, fewer baptisms, and especially less Church influence on the life of society. How do you see the present situation of the Catholic Church in Germany?Read the entire interview.
Benedict XVI: I’d say, first of all, that Germany is part of the West, with its own characteristic colouring obviously, and that in the western world today we are experiencing a wave of new and drastic enlightenment or secularization, whatever you like to call it. It’s become more difficult to believe because the world in which we find ourselves is completely made up of ourselves and God, so to speak, doesn’t appear directly anymore. We don’t drink from the source anymore, but from the vessel which is offered to us already full, and so on. Humanity has rebuilt the world by itself and finding God inside this world has become more difficult. This is not specific to Germany: it’s something that’s valid throughout the world, especially in the west. Then again, today the West is being strongly influenced by other cultures in which the original religious element is very powerful. These cultures are horrified when they experience the West’s coldness towards God. This “presence of the sacred” in other cultures, even if often veiled, touches the western world again, it touches us at the crossroads of so many cultures. The quest for “something bigger” wells up again from the depths of western people and in Germany. We see how in young people there’s the search for something “more”, we see how the religious phenomenon is returning, as they say. Even if it’s a search that’s rather indefinite. But with all this the Church is present once more and faith is offered as the answer. I think that this visit, like the visit to Cologne, is an opportunity because we can see that believing is beautiful, that the joy of a huge universal community possesses a transcendental strength, that behind this belief lies something important and that together with the new searching movements there are also new outlets for the faith that lead us from one to the other and that are also positive for society as a whole.
Thanks to Me monk. Me meander for the original post.
In Our Lord and Our Lady,