Benedict laments lack of faith in German Catholic institutions

Benedict XVI at his final general audience in February, 2013 (Mazur)

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has expressed concern about the lack of faith within Church institutions in Germany. Source: CNA.

The retired pope made the comments in a written conversation in the August issue of the German magazine Herder Korrespondenz, marking the 70th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood, reported CNA Deutsch.

“In Church institutions – hospitals, schools, Caritas – many people participate in decisive positions who do not share the inner mission of the Church and thus in many cases obscure the witness of this institution,” he said.

The 94-year-old reflected on the concept of the “Amtskirche,” a German term that can be translated as “institutional Church” and is used to refer to the large number of Church-tax funded structures and institutions in Germany.

He wrote: “The word ‘Amtskirche’ was coined to express the contrast between what is officially demanded and what is personally believed. The word ‘Amtskirche’ insinuates an inner contradiction between what the faith actually demands and signifies and its depersonalisation.”

He suggested that many texts issued by the Church in Germany were crafted by people for whom faith was largely institutional.

“In this sense, I must admit that for a large part of institutional Church texts in Germany, the word ‘Amtskirche’ does indeed apply,” he commented.

He continued: “As long as only the office, but not the heart and the spirit, speak in Church official texts, the exodus from the world of faith will continue.”

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Benedict XVI laments lack of faith within Church institutions in Germany (CNA)

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