September 26, 2011

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

The following, in it's entirety, is a copyrighted transcript of the Vatican Information Service.

SUMMARY OF THE POPE'S TRIP TO GERMANY: 25 SEPTEMBER

OTHER NEWS:


IT IS TIME FOR THE CHURCH TO SET ASIDE HER WORLDLINESS

VATICAN CITY, 25 SEP 2011 (VIS) - At 5 p.m. today at the concert hall of Freiburg im Breisgau, the Holy Father met with representatives of Catholic associations active in the life of the Church and of society.

  Having thanked them for their Christian service and witness, "something that is not always easy at the present time", Benedict XVI pointed out that, "for some decades now we have been experiencing a decline in religious practice and we have been seeing substantial numbers of the baptised drifting away from Church life. This prompts the question: should the Church not change?"

  "The Church", he explained, "is not just other people, not just the hierarchy, the Pope and the bishops: we are all the Church, we the baptised. ... Yes, there are grounds for change. There is a need for change. Every Christian and the community of the faithful are constantly called to change. ... As far as the Church in concerned, though, the basic motive for change is the apostolic mission of the disciples and the Church herself.

  "The Church, in other words, must constantly rededicate herself to her mission", he added, explaining that this mission embraces three aspects: bearing witness, making disciples in all nations and proclaiming the Gospel. "The Church's mission has its origins in the mystery of the Triune God, in the mystery of His creative love". She "has nothing of her own to offer to Him Who founded her. She finds her meaning exclusively in being a tool of salvation, in filling the world with God's word and in transforming the world by bringing it into loving unity with God".

  "In the concrete history of the Church, however, a contrary tendency is also manifested, namely that the Church becomes settled in this world, she becomes self-sufficient and adapts herself to the standards of the world. She gives greater weight to organisation and institutionalisation than to her vocation to openness", the Pope said.

  And he went on: "In order to accomplish her true task adequately, the Church must constantly renew the effort to detach herself from the 'worldliness' of the world. ... One could almost say that history comes to the aid of the Church here through the various periods of secularisation, which have contributed significantly to her purification and inner reform".

  "Secularising trends", he added, "whether by expropriation of Church goods, or elimination of privileges or the like, have always meant a profound liberation of the Church from forms of worldliness, for in the process she has set aside her worldly wealth and has once again completely embraced her worldly poverty". In freeing herself of material ties, "her missionary activity regained credibility".

  Benedict XVI recalled that history shows how a Church detached from the world can bear more effective missionary witness. "Once liberated from her material and political burdens, the Church can reach out more effectively and in a truly Christian way to the whole world, she can be truly open to the world", he said.

  "It is not a question here of finding a new strategy to relaunch the Church. Rather, it is a question of setting aside mere strategy and seeking total transparency, not bracketing or ignoring anything from the truth of our present situation, but living the faith fully, ... stripping away from it anything that may seem to belong to faith, but in truth is mere convention or habit.

  "To put it another way: for people of every era, not just our own, the Christian faith is a scandal. ... This scandal, which cannot be eliminated unless one were to eliminate Christianity itself, has unfortunately been overshadowed in recent times by other painful scandals on the part of the preachers of the faith. A dangerous situation arises when these scandals" conceal "the true demands of the Christian Gospel behind the unworthiness of those who proclaim it".

  Pope Benedict concluded: "It time once again for the Church resolutely to set aside her worldliness. ... A Church relieved of the burden of worldliness is in a position, not least through her charitable activities, to mediate the life-giving strength of the Christian faith to those in need, to sufferers and to their carers. ... Openness to the concerns of the world means, then, for the Church that is detached from worldliness, bearing witness to the primacy of God's love according to the Gospel through word and deed, here and now".

 

HOPE FOR THE FUTURE OF CHRISTIANITY IN GERMANY

VATICAN CITY, 25 SEP 2011 (VIS) - Today at 6 p.m. the Pope travelled fifty kilometres by car from the city of Freiburg im Breisgau to Lahr airport for his return flight to Italy. The departure ceremony was attended by German President Christian Wulff, to whom the Pope again expressed his thanks, as well as by various German bishops, representatives of the civil authorities and large numbers of faithful.

  "Before leaving Germany, I would like very much to thank you for these days, so moving and eventful, spent in my native land", said the Holy Father, who then went on to recall the most important moments of his apostolic visit.

  "In Berlin", he said, "I had the particular opportunity of addressing the members of the Bundestag and presenting some reflections on the intellectual foundations of the State. I also readily think of the fruitful conversations which I had with the Federal President and the Federal Chancellor about the present state of the German people and the international community. I was particularly touched by the cordial welcome and enthusiasm shown by so many people in Berlin.

  "Here in the land of the Reformation", he added, "Christian unity was naturally a high point of my journey. I would mention in particular my meeting with representatives of the Lutheran Church in Germany, which took place in the former Augustinian convent of Erfurt. I am profoundly grateful for our fraternal exchange and common prayer. Significant too were my meetings with Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Christians, as well with Jews and Muslims.

  "Of course my visit was particularly aimed at the Catholic communities in Berlin, Erfurt, Eichsfeld and Freiburg. I gladly recall our ... common listening to the word of God and our union in prayer - especially in those parts of the country where efforts were made for decades to remove religion from people's lives. This gives me confidence for the future of Christianity in Germany. As in previous visits, it was clear how many people here are bearing witness to their faith and making its transforming power present in today's world.

  "Last but not least, after the impressive celebration of World Youth Day in Madrid, I was also delighted to be in the presence of large numbers of young people in Freiburg at yesterday's youth vigil. I encourage the Church in Germany to pursue with resolute confidence the path of faith which leads people back to their roots, to the heart of the Good News of Christ. It will be small communities of believers - and these already exist - whose enthusiasm spreads within a pluralistic society and makes others curious to seek the light which gives life in abundance. ... 'Where God is, there is a future.' Wherever God is present, there is hope: new and often unexpected horizons open up beyond the present and the ephemeral. In this sense I accompany in my thoughts and prayers the path of the Church in Germany".

  Following the departure ceremony, at 7.15 p.m. the Holy Father boarded his plane to return to Rome. His flight landed at Fiumicino airport in Rome at 8.45 p.m., whence he travelled by car to the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY, 26 SEP 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Stanislaw Budzik, secretary general of the Polish Episcopal Conference, as archbishop of Lublin (area 9,108, population 1,154,267, Catholics 1,128,233, priests 1,328, religious 1,043), Poland. The archbishop-elect was born in Lekawica, Poland in 1952 and ordained a priest in 1977. Having studied dogmatic theology in Austria, he worked as director of diocesan Caritas, then director of the "Biblos" publishing house and later as rector of the major seminary of Tarnow.

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