Paolo Rodari interprets Benedict XVI’s State Visit to Germany

Paolo Rodari has an interesting analysis of the Holy Father’s visit to Germany.  I am still think about what he wrote, but I thought I would get it out to the anglophone blogosphere for your opportune knowledge.

My quick translation.

Hitler and Luther.  National Socialism and Protestantism. The Pope’s journey, just concluded, had at its foundation these two great faults of the German world.

The Pope, as a Catholic and as a German, senses these two faults as his own, but the attempt that he made in this trip, it seems to me, was to show them as possible for all.

The Pope’s call to the West that it return to a recognition of God as origin and its very life, is decisive in him precisely because of that “reign of terror” with which he had to coexist: “National Socialism”, which “grounded itself on a racist myth, part of which was the rejection of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Jesus Christ and of all who believe in Him”, the Pope said in Germany.

And then there is the fault of Protestantism, also deeply German fault.  It isn’t that Benedict XVI scorns the Protestant world, on the contrary.  It’s that there is in him the wound of Luther’s tearing, Christianity divided from his own country that hasn’t been able to remain in the Church in spite of its countless problems and its  countless contradictions.

The sense of the trip to Germany, in my opinion, rests here, in these two faults which the Pope wanted in some way to expiate and, at the same time, show as faults possible for everyone.

Intriguing proposal.  I wonder if he is right.

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  1. ghp95134 says:

    Austria’s greatest achievement is convincing the world that Hitler was German … and Beethoven was Austrian.

    (old joke)

    –Guy Power

  2. A lot is made about the Holy Father and ‘his country’, ‘his people’. I have never yet known a Bavarian who thinks of himself as anything but Bavarian, and only in a technical sense ‘German’. In fact, the old DDR, where the Pope is now, is habitually derided in Bavaria still as ‘Prussia’, with which Bavaria shares only (regrettable) political union. In British terms, it might be like a Scottish Pope visiting the Home Counties [around London], and everyone commenting about how he is visiting his home land. An Italian ought to understand that, really: Italy and Germany are about the same age; only around a century and a half.

  3. Imrahil says:

    No, Bavarians at large do feel as Germans.

    We want to be German and stay Bavarian. Louis I., king of Bavaria.

    The thing is that they, if Catholic, and the Ratzinger family for sure, mostly were of the greater German fraction – favoring unity with Austria under the real heir of the Roman throne, instead of Prussian domination. But Francis Joseph confessed to be a German prince even in the 20th century.

    Hence, a Bavarian will introduce himself to an Austrian as Bavarian – even though the Austrians no longer belong to the German nation, because they have decided to leave it. (They never belonged to the German state, if we accept, as I do, the 1938-45 period as inimical occupation. But the German nation is something different, and Austrians used to confess to belong to it.)

    A Bavarian usually will introduce himself to an Englishman etc. as a German, if not – which might happen often enough – shame drives him not to accept this swearword as his name. (And after all, Bavaria did consistently vote anti-Nazi until the end of democratic elections.)

    The problem about Prussia was its domination. As Kurt Wilhelm depicts in his popular “Kaspar Brandner and Life Everlasting”, it was largely against Prussian progressivism which, out of “love for Bavaria” wanted to destroy Bavaria (as they knew it) and form another country technically named Bavaria; and used their domination in the Wilhelminic Empire to achieve that purpose. Since this domination has largely gone the way of all flesh – and, one might ironically add, since in the position of the major enemy of an intrinsically anarchist people, Berlin tends to be largely replaced by Brussels – Prussians are, by now, the object of friendly humour, rather than derision.

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