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Reflecting on trip, Pope sees bright hope for Church's future in Germany

Catholic World News - September 28, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI reported on his visit to Germany, describing it as a “great feast of the faith,” during his public audience on September 28.

Speaking to about 20,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the Holy Father recounted the major events of his 4-day visit, commenting on each. He also offered his thanks to everyone involved with the visit: the bishops and public officials who had invited and hosted him, the organizers, and the many volunteers.

From the outset, the Pope told his weekly audience, he had wished to remind the people of Germany of the need to acknowledge God’s role in their lives and in the life of their society. Thus he cited the words of the great German exponent of Catholic social teaching, Bishop Wilhelm von Ketteler: “Just as religion requires freedom, freedom also need religion.”

Pope Benedict called attention to his speech at the Bundestag as one of the important statements of his visit. In his talk to the lawmakers, the Pope said, “I wanted to expose the foundation of law and free State of law, that is, the measure of all law, inscribed by the Creator in the very being of His creation.”

“Germany, and Thuringia in particular, is the land of the Protestant Reformation,” the Pope continued.” So, from the beginning I was eager to give particular emphasis to ecumenism in the context of this trip.” He recalled his meeting with Protestant leaders and their common prayer. The Pope reminded his audience of the important lesson of ecumenical work: “A faith created by ourselves is of no value, and true unity is rather a gift from God, who prayed and prayed for the unity of his disciples.”

In Freiburg, the Pope said, he was impressed with the “very festive reception” that he received. At an evening prayer vigil with young Catholics, he said, “I was happy to see that faith in my native German has a young face, it is alive and has a future.”

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  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Sep. 28, 2011 7:49 PM ET USA

    I don't know what the Pope says behind closed doors, but the distance between the public optimism of American bishops and how they explain the harsh realities to their priests has never been greater.

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