Posts filed under: germany

We cannot remain silent about the existence of evil. We see it in so many places in this world; but we also see it – and this scares us – in our own lives. Truly, within our hearts there is a tendency towards evil, there is selfishness, envy, aggression. Perhaps with a certain self-discipline all this can to some degree be controlled. But it becomes more difficult with faults that are somewhat hidden, that can engulf us like a thick fog, such as sloth, or laziness in willing and doing good.

Again and again in history, keen observers have pointed out that damage to the Church comes not from her opponents, but from uncommitted Christians.

So how can Christ say that Christians, presumably including these weak Christians, are the light of the world? Perhaps we could understand if he were to call out to us: Repent! Be the light of the world! Change your life, make it bright and radiant! Should we not be surprised that the Lord directs no such appeal to us, but tells us that we are the light of the world, that we shine, that we light up the darkness?

Dear friends, Saint Paul in many of his letters does not shrink from calling his contemporaries, members of the local communities, “saints”. Here it becomes clear that every baptized person – even before he or she can accomplish good works – is sanctified by God. In baptism the Lord, as it were, sets our life alight with what the Catechism calls sanctifying grace. Those who watch over this light, who live by grace, are holy.

Pope Benedict XVI at last night’s Prayer Vigil with Young People in Germany

(photos from here)

Pope to German Jewish leaders: "Hitler was a pagan idol"

Why is church attendance dropping so rapidly in European countries where Catholicism used to thrive? (France, Switzerland, Germany, etc) - Anonymous

It’s a very sad situation, definitely. Actually, it’s dropped even faster in European countries which tended more towards Protestantism, which is the case of much of Switzerland and Germany; Scandinavia, Holland and England are practically post-Christian at this point.

The number of factors involved is really staggering. Part of it comes from long-term effects of the French Revolution and the Enlightenment: The Church there was so identified with power structures that anyone who sparked a rebellion against any regime was also going to target the Church and faith in general, so that’s why movements as disparate as France’s Revolution, Italy’s Risorgimento and the Communist tendencies of the 20th century were anti-Catholic to a violent extent that’s almost unthinkable for us nowadays in the US. In Ireland, most of the recent drastic erosion has happened thanks to fallout from abuse scandals, since priests had been placed on such a high pedestal there. 

But there are literally hundreds more factors, including the moral relativism that began to take hold after WW2, the oddly different way in which the 1968 revolution happened there, the much closer relationship between Church and State (like Germany’s church tax), etc.

If it’s a subject that you want to get a deeper grasp of, you might really appreciate George Wiegel’s The Cube and the Cathedral. This is also an interesting article, and then of course there are fascinating books by Pope Benedict like this one and this one.

So folks from the Near East evangelized Southern Europe, Southern Europe evangelized Northern Europe, Ireland helped re-evangelize parts of both afterwards, then Spain and Portugal evangelized the Americas, sporadic efforts were made by various powers to evangelize parts of Asia and Africa, and now you see more and more often that Africans and Americans are returning to Europe to re-evangelize it. Funny how that works. Cycles of birth, death, rebirth.

God bless you, and let’s pray for Europe!

- Father Shane


The Lady Altar in Maxkirche, Düsseldorf, Germany

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