In Brief

Source: FSSPX News



France: Alsatians want to choose their priests among men and women, married or not.

At the opening of the synod, Jean-Paul Blatz, vice-president of the Jonas Catholic groups of Alsace, told the press agency France-Presse that there were in Alsace "many qualified persons, who had studied theology and would be quite able to celebrate the Eucharist". In this public letter addressed to the French bishops, the Alsatians remind them that they are a group made up of "priests and lay people committed to the Church, and anxious to keep alive and promote the spirit of Vatican II". They affirm that "any Church community that is able to survive should choose and present to the bishop for recognition, the ministers that are necessary to its life".


Germany: Cardinal Ratzinger was watched by the Stasi

 On October 2, 2005 the German weekly Bild am Sonntag revealed that Benedict XVI "long before his appointment as head of the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had been watched by agents of the Security Department" of the Democratic Republic of Germany since 1974 after a conference he gave to students in theology at Erfurt, and this up until 1987, it would seem.

Excerpts from the files gathered by the secret police of ex-East Germany, the Stasi, have been published with the agreement of the pope given to Marianne Birthler, director of the Center for the Management of the Stasi Archives.

Cardinal Ratzinger is presented as "one the most fervent opponents of communism" and "one of the most influential men on the political and ideological level" at the Vatican. Head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "he would have encouraged opposition to communism inside the Catholic Church, particularly in Latin America". Another report portrays him as "a personality of captivating charm, who shows himself, initially reserved in his conversation with his interlocutors".


Belgium: Complaint against blasphemy

 On October 7, 2005 the daily Het Laatste Nieuws announced that the association "Belgium and Christianity" had brought an action against a parish priest in Brussels for a blasphemous exhibition in his church. Numerous parishioners were scandalized by the works exhibited such as a confessional built with Lego bricks and a statue of the Virgin Mary weeping coins. This priest, who wished to offer the visitors a critical look at their own faith could well be prosecuted for blasphemy as foreseen under Belgian law.


Germany: A BMW jeep for the pope

 On October 5, 2005, the German car-manufacturer BMW offered Benedict XVI a "luxury vehicle for sports activities" estimated to be worth between 50,000 and 90,000 euros. The accession to the Sovereign Pontificate of Joseph Ratzinger was the occasion for the car-manufacturers Audi, Volkswagen, Mercedes and BMW to offer their best models to the pope or members of staff. Following the example of John Paul II, Benedict XVI usually drives around in a Mercedes. In the Vatican Museum, all the pontifical cars offered to the popes since 1909 are on display.