What Bp. Zollitsch (Pres. German Bps Conf.) wrote for Die Welt

The wonderfully persistent Anna Arco of the UK’s best Catholic weekly, The Catholic Herald, has provided a translation of the defense of Pope Benedict made by Bp. Zollitsch (Pres. of German Bishops Conference) in Die Welt.

Responding to accusations in the German papers such as the Spiegel and Die Zeit that the Pope was maintaining silence vis-à-vis the German abuse scandal, Archbishop Zollitsch wrote an article defending the Pope in Die Welt, yesterday.

Here is [Anna’s]  translation [from the original German with my usual…]:

My Pope. Your Pope. These days the Pope has hold forth for many things. Often enough nobody wants to hear him, now he is widely being reproached that he is silent on the subject of the abuse scandals within the Catholic Church in Germany.  [And they will continue to refuse to hear him until he says what they have predetermined he ought to say.]

What sorts of things will then be then still demanded from this man tomorrow? That he takes part in round tables? That he thins out the tangle of statutory periods of limitation or claims for compensation?

Everyone formulates his own demands of the Pope just as he needs them. Simple, practical,good. The wonderment on the on-line edition of one German newspaper about why the Pope had not yet made a comment to the terrible events in the school in the Odenwald [a non-Catholic UNESCO school where abuse cases came to light in recent months]proves just how much the ability to judge has lost its orientation.

The fable of the silent Pope often ignores the fact that there is not a Pope for German and not a Pope for Spain. There is only one Pope for the whole world-wide Church.  [A good phrase: "fable of the silent Pope".  Applied so often to Popes.  They have rehearsed it for years especially on Pius XII.]

Accordingly, Benedict XVI must weigh up intelligently when ,where, in which form and to whom he says what. Demands are quickly thrown into the room that the Pope must take a position on the German problem because he is German.

This is as short-sighted as it is superficial. The head of the Catholic Church must find words for the terrible abuse of minors which will be heard in all the world and which will count for everyone even if they are spoken in a certain country.

He has found them. The weight of a word does not grow the number of times it is repeated. This is true in life, in existential thing especially.

I know from my conversation with the Pope, how much he is shaken by the abuse of children through priests, especially in Germany. He has spoken unmistakable spoken about this – as he says himself—“abominable crime”: “Not one of my words could describe the pain and sufferings caused by such abuse. I also cannot frame the damage which arisen in the body of the Church in adequate words.

During his visit in the United States he challenged us—and that counts for the whole world—to do everything within our power “to advance healing and reconciliation” and to support those who were hurt.  [Interesting that he refers to the US visit.]

What should the Pope say that is new? His words have validity and consequences. As bad as the situation in Germany is: What has been said should not be constantly repeated. That which has already been said retains its weight if it is not continuously repeated.

Those who hate the Church will never be satisfied.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Father Z, your last line says it all. “Those who hate the Church will never be satisfied.”

  2. irishgirl says:

    I echo that, David!

    A very insightful article from the head of the German Bishops’ Conference, and an excellent translation by Anna Arco.

  3. Bryan says:

    In many ways, what the salivating jackals of the press and all the pressure groups want is for the Holy Father to genuflect before the ‘spirit of the times’ and acknowledge the world and its falsehood as the object of worship, instead of Him who died for us. Just like satan, showing Our Lord all the kingdoms from the top of the mountain after His 40-day fast…”we’ll all like you if you just do what we say and subordinate yourself to the world…”, this is what they want, I truly believe. They will NEVER be satisfied until the Church renounces its patrimony, teachings, and steadfast following of Christ to become a mirror of the world instead of its only beacon of hope.

    This society we’ve allowed to develop by allowing our Catholic identity to be suppressed is satan’s playground. The ruination of souls is his goal. He can’t STAND, for one instance since he fell in his pride and arrogance, that anyone’s eyes should be turned up towards HIM, and not down to the delights of the world. The Pope points to a higher way. That’s not to the devil’s liking. So…out come the useful idiots with smooth words and false tolerance to appeal, not to our eternal destination, but to our nature to want things in the here and now.

    Our Holy Father and Christ’s Church stands in his way. And the enemy will use, without a second thought, any means, lure, trap, or enticement to subvert even a single soul. Because each one is, to him, a success…and to Christ’s body, one more stripe at the hands of His torturers.

    I know I’m treading close to saying the world is evil. It’s not. I’m not a Catharist. The world is beautiful, and a witness to God’s unbounded gifts to us. Man, though, has free will. And the enemy has found a way, unknown in history, to use the fallen nature of man to his own ends.

    Pray for Benedict. Every day. Remember his intentions. Recite the Ave, Pater, Gloria specifically for him. Offer mortification for his health and protection. The gates of Hell may not prevail against the Church…but that’s no guarantee that men, in their fallen nature and pride, will partake of that paradise promised to His followers who love and follow Him.

  4. Dave N. says:

    As John Allen pointed out in his interview yesterday, the real significance of the German cases stems not from the fact that the Pope is German (sort of silly, really), but from the fact that the German situation falls on the heels of the American and Irish scandals. Allen observed that with the German revelations, it’s now becoming clear that the problem of priest sex abuse is truly a worldwide one. Honestly, I think people are looking for more action and fewer words.

  5. Mike says:

    A few thoughts strike me:

    1. Priests who abuse minors are criminals and need to be punished.

    2. Bishops need to stop “protecting their own” and start protecting our children. I think this is happening in the USA, at least.

    3. The problem of infidelity among priests is a lack of Faith, and that lack of Faith extends far, far beyond the clergy. Contracepting couples, the divorced and remarried, homosexuals, etc. are riding the wave of hedonism that was unleashed in the 60s in the industrialized West. Hence the hypocrasy here among the bashing media is profound.

    3. We the lay people need to live, pray, and fast for our priests. The clergy, in turn, need to knock off the 60’s pablum and give us the real deal, basically, if they preach the Gospels, read Benedict XVI, and start talking about the challenges that REAL love demands, and live those demands themselves, in their personal life, and in the liturgy, we will find a way out of this.

    4. The way out doesn’t need the media. But educated Catholics must respond to the media hits on Benedict in a variety of ways. First, prayer. Then sacrifice. Then writing, based on study and prayer.

    The World welcomed weakened priests. Now it uses them to weaken the Papacy. We need to counter with supernatural weapons, chiefly starting w. our own earnest desire for sanctity.

  6. Clinton says:

    “These days the Pope has held forth for many things. Often enough nobody wants to hear him, now he is widely being reproached that
    he is silent … What sorts of things will then be still demanded from this man tomorrow?”

    It’s amazing that those who criticize the Pope for his supposed silence in the face of Nazi killings don’t see the inconsistency of simultaneously criticizing the Pope for interfering in nations’ politics by speaking out against the holocaust of abortion.

    I can remember when the National Catholic Distorter was furious with John Paul II because he sent a bishop into the diocese of Seattle
    to investigate Bishop Hunthausen. The narrative was that the Pope was a dictator, a control freak who had contempt for collegiality.
    Now with the abuse scandals, the narrative is that the Pope is not micro-managing the bishop’s responses because he doesn’t care.

    Truly, those who hate the Church will never be satisfied.

  7. gambletrainman says:

    I am asking for some help, here, especially from a priest, or anyone familiar with the situation. A priest in charge of a seminary was fired after Pope Benedict assumed office for abusing seminarians. Father Marcel Marcial was suspended, I think, after he had relations with one or more women. All fine and good. However, with regards to children (at the time), all he seems to do is verbally condemn the actions of the priests involved. The bishops involved, by just transferring the guilty priests to other parishes, to me, are just as guilty by harboring these “priests”, but yet, as in the case of the US and Ireland, the bishops most guilty are refusing to resign, or step aside.Nothing is being done to spiritually or physically punish them. Can he not punish them so they can feel the effects of the Church’s wrath, rather than pass it off as something trivial? The same with the “Catholic” politicians. As long as the bishops and pope just fuss about the fact that they are doing wrong, and take no definitive actions, they will continue to thumb their noses at the Church, and go their merry way. Of course, in due time there is a Particular Judgement and General Judgement awaiting them, but, in the mean time, it’s very frustrating to see all this happening. I don’t think any of the previous popes (at least thru Pius XII, or John XXIII) would have put up with this for as long as Pope Benedict has. Am I missing something? Please help!

  8. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    I cannot help but remember;
    And the Lord said: “Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.” Luke 22:31-32

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