Germany: The Catholic Church has benefited from the “Benedict XVI effect”

Source: FSSPX News

A poll by the Forsa Institute for the paper Neue Bildpost revealed that 59% of Catholics, 54% of those without a specific religion and 52% of Protestants think the German Catholic Church, although in decline, has benefited from the “Benedict XVI effect”.

One German out of four is sensitive to the fact that the pope is German. 37% think Benedict XVI is a moderate and prudent reformer, as opposed to 45% who think he’s very conservative. Christian Weisner, spokesman of the dissident movement “We Are Church”, cited to AFP the “ambivalent signs” of Benedict XVI: the pope “engages in a reflection on the role of women in the Church but does not want them to be ordained, he receives the dissident theologian Hans Küng and, in increasing numbers, the traditionalists”. “Benedict XVI advances ecumenism with the Orthodox but not with Protestants and speaks highly of love in an encyclical but bars homosexuals from the priesthood”.

Cardinal Karl Lehmann, President of the German Episcopal Conference, announced in the magazine Der Spiegel that the Catholic Church “last year had about a third less people leave the Church” compared with 2004 and “three times more come in, the majority being those returning to the Church”; Germans must, in fact, identify themselves to the government as members or not of a church to determine if they must pay or are exempt from the church tax. Despite all that, 700 Catholic churches might no longer be places of worship in the next ten years, regretted the President of the Episcopal Conference.