German Church Better at Organising than Believing in God, Says Pope
The CNA reports Pope Benedict’s observations about the German Church with the following words:
Using Catholicism in Germany as an example, the Pope said that while the German Church was “superbly organized” it was perhaps lacking in a “corresponding spiritual strength, the strength of faith in a living God.”
Having lived in Germany more than some years, I can only confirm the analysis. Whilst no one can deny that the German Church is very well organised – besides the German penchant for organisation, this is an extremely wealthy Church – during my German years I could never escape the impression that for all German Christian organisations (the Only Church as well as the Protestant ecclesial communities) God is an embarrassment that can be safely mentioned only in the most innocuous of circumstances, that is: in conjunction with “feel-good” issues like world peace, or social justice.
This is why the Holy Father’s words are important: the Pope is telling his bishops that an important reason why the Germans are getting more and more distant from a healthy approach to life – the critic of the Western secularism is here clearly aimed at the specific situation he is dealing with – is that “the faith in a living God” is lacking in strenght in his own shepherds.
I see the same happening here in the UK of course, though I find here in the UK examples of spotless orthodoxy that would be probably more difficult to find in Germany. But the message is clear: if the shepherds don’t have a strong faith, how will they be able to give a strong faith to their sheep? As always, the fish stinks from the head down.
When we ask ourselves, though, who has appointed the present German hierarchy, two names come to mind: Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. My suggestion to the Holy Father would be – if I were ever be asked to give one – that if he wants that the German Church has a strong faith it might help to appoint bishops who have it, rather than failed social workers obsessed with popularity, and with the Kirchensteuer.
Another interesting observation of the Holy Father concerns the difference that people coming from other countries see in the individual attitude of Westerners: the obsessive self-centredness.
Even coming from Italy – a partly secularised country, but where traditional values still have a stronger hold than here in the North – I was rather shocked at seeing how here in the UK and in the USA the pursuing of one’s every whim has become a religion in itself. A married couple informing their friends that they are going to split will be inundated with messages of “support” and wishes of “happiness”, reinforcing the idea that the pursuit of the individual happiness of the two be more important than the godly institution they have just decided to bomb. Not so in Italy, where la famiglia, exactly as la Patria – and, alas, often even more so – has rights on the individual that go above his own pursuit of an anyway largely illusory personal happiness.
This in Italy, a partially secularised country. I can imagine the shock of people coming from African countries, where not many think twice about walking for hours every week to go to Mass, and the Christian commandments are different from their Western counterparts “be nice”, “don’t judge” and “provided no one is harmed, it isn’t a sin”.
I heard with my ears a Catholic priest say that he didn’t know the Ten Commandments by heart, and wasn’t interested in learning them.
I don’t think you’ll find many of those outside of the West.
Posted on September 25, 2011, in Bad Shepherds, Catholicism and tagged Conservative Catholic, conservative catholicism, German Church, Pope Benedict visit to Germany 2011, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.