May 05, 2006

Germany now has a different vision of Benedict XVI

Zenit.org reports that the pope has become what I’ll call a “One-Man New Evangelization” in his native Germany.

A year after negatively charged German headlines, the newspapers of Ratzinger’s homeland now call attention to the good effects of the election of the German pope.

The number of students of theology, of adult baptisms and of Catholics returning to the Church is increasing in Germany.

At the same time, the number of those leaving the Church is shrinking. Records show that in 2004 more than 101,200 left the Catholic Church in Germany. In 2005, that number shrank by one third.

Prior to his papal election, the main criticisms of Cardinal Ratzinger were always in Germany.

However, since he became pope, Germany has shown development of a new perspective on the pope.

The German media have scrutinized Benedict XVI's papacy as a significant step in rehabilitation of Germany sixty years after the second World War.

The German Language Society declared "Wir sind Papst" (“We are Pope”) as the second most important German phrase of 2005. The first was "Bundeskanzlerin," the feminine form of "federal chancellor"—since Angela Merkel won election to that office.

Federal Chancellor Merkel, President Horst Köhler and the former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder speak of their “pride” that Ratzinger was elected— though the three are Protestants.

Germany’s most popular television hosts, such as Harald Schmidt and Stefan Raab, openly admit they read the pope’s writings. Sales of Ratzinger’s works surged upwards after his election.

Catholic critics— such as the “Wir Sind Kirche” (“We Are Church”) group, Hans Küng and Eugen Drewermann— had formerly dominated the German media’s generally negative attitude towards the “Amtskirche” (“Official Church”)— that is, Rome.

The weightiest change seems to be that the German media has ceased deriding Ratzinger as the defensive "guardian of the faith" in favor of now speaking of him as "pastor."

On April 22 this year the “Suddeutsche Zeitung” wrote that "Benedict advocates concentration and contemplation, whereas” John Paul pursued "amplitude." The newspaper went on to affirm that Benedict XVI looks for "profundity" and the "core." The new perception is that Ratzinger’s core is the faith, rather than the church hierarchy.

A year after his papal election, Germany’s printed news media accent Ratzinger’s "real humility and goodness" and his appeals to “the beauty of the faith”.

Germany is exhibiting a renewed confidence in the Church and the papacy. The country is showing heightened interest in religion.

Ratzinger’s books are best-sellers. The name “Benedikt” had been the fiftieth most popular for German newborns; it is now the thirty-seventh.


2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Es lebe Heiliges Deutschland.

12:18 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

That means,
"Long live Holy Germany!"

2:53 PM  

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