Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Anything But an Example For the World. The German Church Is a Black Hole

ROME, October 11, 2016 – “In Germany some persons are always trying to destroy me,” pope emeritus Benedict XVI has said in the book-length interview released in recent days.

And he has cited the example of the “fabrication” mounted against him by some of his countrymen when he changed the old prayer of Good Friday against the “perfidi Iudaei.”

But in the same book Joseph Ratzinger has lodged against the German Church an accusation much more general in its scope: that of being too “worldly” and therefore of having disregarded the strong appeal for “de-mundanification” that he issued during his last journey to Germany as pope, in the memorable address in Freiburg on September 25, 2011:

> Meeting with Catholics engaged in the life of the Church and society

The key passages of that “revolutionary” address - his definition - of the pontificate of Benedict XVI are reproduced further below.

But first there is another point of the book-length interview that calls for attention. It is the one in which Ratzinger speaks out against the system of ecclesiastical taxation in Germany and its nefarious effects:

“In effect I have serious doubts about the correctness of the system as it is. I do not mean that there should not be an ecclesiastical tax, but the automatic excommunication of those who do not pay it, in my view, is not sustainable. [. . .] In Germany we have a Catholicism that is structured and well-paid, in which Catholics are often employees of the Church and have a union mentality in regard to it. For them, the Church is only an employer to be criticized. They are not motivated by a dynamic of faith. I believe that this represents the great danger of the Church in Germany: there are so many collaborators under contract that the institution is turning into a worldly bureaucracy. [. . .] This situation saddens me, this excess of money that yet again is not enough, and the bitterness that it generates, the sarcasm of the circles of intellectuals.”  (more...)


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