Monday, September 26, 2011

Pope 'deeply shaken'

In Germany, Pope says godlessness poses new risks for society

Pope distributes Communion.
On a four-day visit to Germany, Pope Benedict XVI repeatedly mentioned the duty to protect the unborn, and proposed this as an area where Catholics and non-Catholics can witness together and help resist ethical erosion.

Arriving Sept. 22, he said he had come "to meet people and to speak about God." He took that message to the country's political leaders, to the church's ecumenical partners, to the Catholic faithful and, through the mass media, to the German people.

The trip's slogan was "Where there is God, there is a future." The Pope strongly defended the Church's voice in public affairs and said that to dismiss religious values as irrelevant would "dismember our culture."

Celebrating Mass in Berlin's Olympic Stadium for 70,000 people, the Pope appealed for a better understanding of the Church, one that goes beyond current controversies and the failings of its members.

The Pope met with five sex abuse victims in Erfurt, an encounter that the Vatican said left the Pontiff "moved and deeply shaken."

Meeting with Lutheran leaders, the Pope prayed for Christian unity and said ecumenism today faces threats from both secularization and Christian fundamentalism.

He cautioned against viewing ecumenism as a type of negotiation. The best path to Christian unity, he said, is witnessing the Gospel courageously in a society that is often antagonistic toward the faith.
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