INSIDE THIS ISSUE
SIX PAGES OF REPORTS , PHOTOS AND FULL TEXTS FROM THE POPE’S VISIT TO GERMANY
September 30 2011 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)
‘We must open our hearts to God’
The Popemobile carrying Benedict XVI makes its way through a vast throng inside Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on the first day of the Pope’s official state visit to Germany
CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters
BY DAVID V BARRETT
POPE BENEDICT XVI issued a powerful call for God to be placed at the centre of German society at the end of his historic four-day visit to his homeland.
In beautiful sunshine under a blue sky the Pope spoke to an estimated 100,000 people at a Mass in Freiburg on the last day of his visit. He urged Catholics to “lift high the torch of untarnished faith”.
“Let us put our trust in God, whose power manifests itself above all in mercy and forgiveness,” Benedict XVI said. “He is always close to us, especially in times of danger and radical change, his heart aches for us and he reaches out to us. We need to open ourselves to him so that the power of his mercy can touch our hearts. We have to be ready to abandon evil, to raise ourselves from indifference and make room for his word. God respects our freedom. He does not constrain us.”
This was Pope Benedict’s first state visit to his homeland, though he had previously visited Germany in September 2006 and in August 2005, just five months after becoming Pope. It was also his first visit outside the Catholic strongholds of Germany in the land of the Protestant Reformation.
At the Mass at Freiburg Pope Benedict said the German Church could overcome its challenges and remain a leaven in society “if the priests, consecrated men and women, and the lay faithful, in fidelity to their respective vocations, work together in unity”.
Arriving in Berlin on Thursday last week – the first time he had been in the city as Pope – Benedict XVI said: “I have come primarily to meet people and speak about God.”
He was welcomed by Christian Wulff, the president of Germany and a Catholic, and later met Chancellor Angela Merkel, the daughter of a Lutheran minister.
In the afternoon he spoke at the Bundestag, the German parliament, and in the evening celebrated Mass in Berlin’s Olympic stadium.
Addressing the Bundestag the Pope said: “Politics must be a striving for justice, and hence it has to establish the fundamental preconditions for peace. Naturally a politician will seek success, as this is what opens up for him the possi-
bility of effective political action. Yet success is subordinated to the criterion of justice, to the will to do what is right, and to the understanding of what is right. Success can also be seductive and thus can open up the path towards the falsification of what is right, towards the destruction of justice.” Quoting St Augustine saying: “Without justice, what else is the state but a great band of robbers?” he went on: “We
Germans know from our own experience that these words are no empty spectre. We have seen how power became divorced from right, how power opposed right and crushed it, so that the state became an instrument for destroying right – a highly organised band of robbers, capable of threatening the whole world and driving it to the edge of the abyss.”
From Berlin, the Pope flew on Friday to Erfurt in central Germany, where Martin Luther lived for 10 years, first as a student and then as an Augustinian friar. At Luther’s friary the Pope praised the Protestant founder for the “deep passion and driving force” of his beliefs.
In the evening the Pope travelled by helicopter to Etzelsbach in Eichsfeld,
presiding at Vespers at a Marian shrine which had been under Communist rule until 1990.
Pope Benedict celebrated Mass in the Cathedral Square at Erfurt on Saturday morning, then flew to Freiburg in the south-west. After visiting the cathedral he met former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, a Catholic, before holding meetings with Orthodox bishops, seminarians and the Central Committee of German Catholics. In the evening he led a prayer vigil and the next morning celebrated Mass at Freiburg airport before returning to Rome. Reports: pages 2-4 Full text: Page 5 Editorial comment: Page 13
Let dispensed priests play active parish role, Vatican urges bishops BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THE VATICAN has appealed to diocesan bishops to encourage priests who have left ministry in order to get married to play a more active role in parish life.
In a copy of a letter seen by The Catholic Herald Cardinal Ivan Dias, the prefect for the Evangelisation of Peoples in Rome, placed more discretionary power in the hands of bishops for discerning a dispensed cleric’s involvement with parish life. The letter, dated February 2 2011, was sent to a priest, who had written to the congregation on behalf of an Australian missionary society that is seeking a relaxation of the prohibitions on dispensed clergy.
Cardinal Dias wrote of his confidence that the Vatican’s reforms would enable dispensed priests to lead a more active life in the Church as committed Catholics under their bishop’s guidance. The usual mode of laicisation and dispensation from the priestly vow of celibacy is through a “rescript of the Apostolic See”, meaning a response from the Pope or a sacred congregation granting a favour and the conditions upon which it is granted.
The rescript permitting the laicisation of a priest prohibits celebrating Mass, delivering homilies, administering the Eucharist, teaching or working in seminaries and places restrictions on teaching the faith in schools and universities. The cardinal’s letter means that the enforcement of half the prohibitions stipulated in the rescript will now come under the discretion of the local bishop.
Prohibitions that are no longer absolute include teaching theology in schools or universities, both Catholic and non-Catholic, contact with the parish where the priest used to serve and administering the Eucharist. Notebook: Page 12
Pope receives gift of half a million bees BY DAVID V BARRETT
ITALIAN farmers have given Pope Benedict XVI half a million bees.
Coldiretti, Italy’s largest farmers’ association, gave the bees to the Pope on the Day for the Protection of Creation.
The eight beehives will be kept on the farm at Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer residence. The farm already has 25 dairy cows, 300 hens and 60 cockerels. It also has an orchard of apricot and peach trees and an olive grove.
The bees are expected to produce over 600lbs of honey a year as well as to ensure pollination on the farm. A Coldiretti spokesman said bees “play a vital role in the planet’s ecosystem and their disappearance would have disastrous consequences”.
Thrifty Korean leaves fortune to the Church BY STAFF REPORTER
A 92-YEAR-OLD unmarried Korean woman has donated 1.1 billion won (£500,000) to the Church.
The woman, Columba Lee Jeom-hong, told the Archbishop of Seoul in a meeting at his office that the money was earned honestly with her own hands and feet in order to offer it to God.
“I lived without greed, and without waste of a penny,” she said of her life.
Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk said that he thanked her and said: “God will pay you back for the good deeds.”
In 1995 she donated an expensive piece of land in Seoul to the archdiocese. Six years ago she donated her own house.
Baroness Cox The suffering Church is incredibly joyful PAGE 9
Cardinal Świątek The man who saw off Stalin and the Nazis PAGE 8
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