Monday, 26 September 2011

Encouraging words from Spiegel Online on the Pope's visit to Germany.

A very encouraging commentary by Mathias Matussek on the Pope's visit to Germany has appeared in the online edition of spiegel.

 The commentary strikes a much more positive note than previous Spiegel articles. I include a significant part of the commentary below. Could this be another example of the Benedict effect?

Pope Benedict XVIRelated articles, background features and opinions about this topic.


Fighting the Dictatorship of Relativism

The Pope's Role in the New Battle for Religion

A Commentary by Mathias Matussek


Anti-abuse activists protest in front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate on Thursday.

The criticism of Benedict XVI in Germany became deafening ahead of the pope's visit to his homeland. But those calling for reform want nothing less than for the Catholic Church to abandon everything that makes it unique.

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Six years ago, after Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope, the German newspaper Bild bore the front-page headline "We Are Pope." A legendary headline was born -- but nothing more. It soon became clear that Germany was not on the verge of a new age of Catholicism. Rather, the headline was little more than a battle cry for a hoped-for wave of patriotism regarding the new German pope.

Nothing against national pride, but it's a sentiment that has little to do with a real spiritual revolution. That kind of revolution would look very different -- and would last much longer.

The fact that critics today are vehemently railing against the pope has a strikingly simple explanation: The man has remained true to himself. Many are calling for the pope to adapt himself and his church. He should pay attention to the survey results, they argue, showing that many German Catholics want reforms. He should listen to the critical theologian Hans Küng and the reform movement in Austria, they continue, where hundreds of dissident priests are openly calling for change. But the pope reacts to it all by saying, just like Martin Luther before him: Here I stand. I can do no other.

Indeed, even if he wanted to, he couldn't. He already said as much in his beautiful address on German public television on Sept. 17 ahead of his visit to Germany. Instead of reforms, he talked about the invisible God whose presence shines through in reason, in beauty, in the saints and in all of us. During the address, he looked a little frail, as if he viewed his visit to Germany as a last battle.

Resisting Idiocies

Benedict XVI is the embodiment of resistance to the idiocies of today, when the obsession with ratings and sex are more important than any article of faith. But he performs that role with a soft voice and the steadfastness of a deeply religious man. And he binds the loyalty of those people who stand with him in opposition -- some 1.2 billion Catholics in the global Church -- and who are often ridiculed as idiots for doing so. They are true to the words of the apostle Paul: "God hath chosen the foolish things of the world."

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