Saturday, May 6
Is the election of Benedict XVI re-vitalizing the Church in Germany?
"There seems to be a rebirth of the faith in Germany, some observers say. The number of students of theology and of adult baptisms is increasing, as is that of Catholics returning to the Church.
Meanwhile, the number of those leaving the Church is decreasing, reveals a study carried out by Vicente Poveda Soler, correspondent of the main German news agency, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA).
Benedict XVI's papacy "has been amply analyzed by the press as an important step in the total rehabilitation of the country 60 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, Hitler's suicide and the end of World War II," said the journalist.
The most significant change is that the Pope has passed from being regarded as "guardian of the faith" to "pastor."
In Germany this climate of restoration of confidence in the Church and its Holy Father has been translated in an increase of interest in religious topics and a marked decline in the number of those leaving the Church.
In 2004 there were 101,252 defections recorded; last year that number dropped by a third, Poveda said.
The name [Benedikt] has moved from 50th to 37th place in terms of popularity."
One hopes that it is revitalizing the faith; it seems so. There is unanimous agreement that Ratzinger's election is rehabilitating Germany, helping it to step out of the shadow of Nazism and other ideologies, which Ratzinger himself so profoundly (and elegantly) decries. It was not hard to detect the divine providence working behind the sudden election of a Pole, at the right place and the right time to end the hold of Communism on Europe and in the world. One almost detects the same providence moving in Benedict's election, rehabilitating a Europe disillusioned with the ideologies it has given up, but adrift in search of something to embrace in their stead.