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On flight to Berlin, Pope downplays confrontation with German critics

CWN - September 22, 2011

In a question-and-answer session with journalists who accompanied him on his September 22 flight to Berlin, Pope Benedict XVI sought to ease tensions about confrontations with his German critics and about alienation among German Catholics.

The Pope told reporters that he was approaching his visit to his native land “with great joy,” despite the heavy publicity that has been given to the public protests organized against him. Such demonstrations, he said, are “quite natural” in a free society. While his critics have a right to voice their opinions, the Pope observed, many more people would greet him warmly and join him in liturgical celebrations.

Regarding the large number of Catholics who have left the Church in recent months, the Pope said that he understood the toll taken by the “terrible scandals” the Church has suffered. He said that pastors now face the challenge of helping people to “learn to withstand even these scandals and work against these scandals from the inside.”

In answer to a question about ecumenical relations, the Pontiff said that he looked forward to a meeting with Protestant leaders in Erfurt, at the monastery where Martin Luther began his work. In an age of growing secularism, he said, Christians must share a common witness. “Thus, even although we are not institutionally united, we are united in our faith in Christ, in the Holy Trinity and in man made in the image of God. And it is essential in this historic moment to show the world this unity.”

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  • Posted by: eustachius234 - Sep. 22, 2011 6:43 PM ET USA

    The Protestants are the problem. The Protestant heresy is the root of the Dictatorship of Relativism. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to see that going from everyman his own pope, to everyman his own God, is the natural progression. Evangelize them, don't scandalize them by letting them think that "we are united in our faith"...

  • Posted by: Lucius49 - Sep. 22, 2011 6:20 PM ET USA

    It's not just about the scandals. It's the fact that some do not believe any longer. Those causing more damage are false brethren: those who no longer hold the Church's teachings and moral discipline but remain in the Church ostensibly Catholics in good standing. That state of affairs cannot continue. The Holy Father should not be afraid to use medicinal penalties for the welfare of souls: this is one of the meanings of charity.

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