Pope reaches out to disheartened Germans
By David Kerr

.- Pope Benedict XVI has urged German Catholics to love the Church and not view it as a merely human institution.

“Many people see only the outward form of the Church. This makes the Church appear as merely one of the many organizations within a democratic society,” said the Pope during his homily at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium.

He seemed particularly keen to encourage those Catholics demoralized by the clerical abuse scandal.

“If to this is added the sad experience that the Church contains both good and bad fish, wheat and darnel, and if only these negative aspects are taken into account, then the great and deep mystery of the Church is no longer seen.”

Today’s celebration was Pope Benedict’s first public Mass of his four-day state visit to his homeland. Some 70,000 filled the stadium which was originally built for the 1936 Olympics. The Pope said his “heart is filled with great joy and confidence,” at the sight of such a large number of people.

Pope Benedict also gently, but strongly, addressed criticism of the Church by those Germans who call themselves Catholic and dissent from Church teaching.

“To abide in Christ means, as we saw earlier, to abide in the Church as well,” he reminded the crowd.

Pope Benedict drew much of his reflections on communion with the Church from today’s Gospel, in which Jesus Christ tells his apostles that “I am the vine, you are the branches.”

“This belonging to each other and to him is not some ideal, imaginary, symbolic relationship, but – I would almost want to say – a biological, life-transmitting state of belonging to Jesus Christ,” said the Pope.

He explained how Christ and his Church were one and the same. Hence, he said, “on the road to Damascus, Christ himself asked Saul, the persecutor of the Church: ‘Why do you persecute me?’”

With these words, said the Pope, “the Lord expresses the common destiny that arises from his Church’s inner communion of life with himself.” He said that Jesus “continues to live in his Church in this world,” quoting from the Second Vatican Council which described the Church as the “universal sacrament of salvation.”

The Pope cautioned that when Catholics start to see the Church in solely human terms – open to change according to popular fashion or only as the sum of its sinful members -- then “belonging to this vine, the ‘Church,’ is no longer a source of joy.”

“Dissatisfaction and discontent begin to spread, when people’s superficial and mistaken notions of ‘Church,’ their ‘dream Church,’ fail to materialize!”

He described the modern era as one of “restlessness and lack of commitment, when so many people lose their way and their grounding,” and urged people to “cry out like the disciples on the road to Emmaus: ‘Lord, stay with us, for it is almost evening and darkness is all around us!’ then the risen Lord gives us a place of refuge, a place of light, hope and confidence, a place of rest and security.”

“Every one of us is faced with this choice,” concluded the Pope, urging people to choose the Church and Jesus Christ.

Among the dignitaries at today’s Mass was German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Upon arrival at the stadium, Pope Benedict traveled in the popemobile around the stadium race track stopping only to kiss several babies. Amid the Berlin drizzle, the crowd sang hymns and waved yellow scarves emblazoned with the motto of the visit - “Gott ist Zukunft” or “God is the future.”

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 24, 2014

Thursday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:35-48


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Acts 3:11-26
Gospel:: Lk 24:35-48

Saint of the Day

Easter Sunday »


Homily of the Day

Lk 24:35-48


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: