The visit of pope Benedikt XVI in Bavaria has come to its end
At the end of the pope's second visit to Germany the basis movement "We are church" is still asking: When will love and reason, which the pope has mentioned so often during his visit, finally make themselves felt in the catholic church?
We absolutely welcome the pope's statement, that Christianity should be described as a "positive option" and not by prohibitions. Therefore it is most regrettable that the pope has not shown any signals for realistic reforms in the roman catholic church, regarding for instance women and priests. Indeed he has avoided to put ideas and suggestions of reforms in concrete shapes as well as to be really open for dialogue with laymen.
At the beginning of the pope's visit Horst Köhler, protestant and president of the federal republic of Germany, has expressed the wish of many fellow countrymen, that the catholic church and protestant church should realize their mutual approximation must faster then before. We think it very unfortunate that the pope has answered only spontaneously and generally and has missed the opportunity to pick up that desire constructively. In his own words: We will make efforts with "heart and mind that we come together". Christianity will surely be very disappointed if this statement will not be followed by concrete consequences and if it will not show fruits in due time.
The pope's speech in Regensburg's university might be one of the best summarys of all his state-ments regarding the relation between faith and reason. But the image of a loving God, which he has drawn in his Regensburg sermon, doesn't find any correspondence in the prevailing structures of the roman-catholic church. The pope's first encyclica "Deus caritas est", highly commended, will prove to be pure alibi, if the church is not practising love within its own administration.
In the fatal conflict between Regensburgs' bishop Dr. Gerhard Müller and the diocese's laymen the pope – as "pontifex maximus", as supreme "bridge builder" – unfortunately hasn't taken any visible attemps to settle the quarrel.
Pope Benedikt's attitude as a protector of tradition provokes the question if he is really willing to open the church to the new millenium. While people indeed are in search of faith they feel pre-vented by the centralistic hierarchy and the rigid sexual morals, to live faith and community in the roman-catholic church.
Despite of all enthusiasm which people showed the pope in his native country, the medially pro-duced mass events cannot and must not blind people to the real problems of the catholic church. Surely these problems will be on the agenda when the german bishops will assemble at this year's "ad-limina-visit" in November.
Translation: C. Rinneberg