COLOGNE (CNS): Pope Benedict XVI urged bishops in his German homeland to tap into the “enormous potential energy” of World Youth Day in order to face a series of dramatic pastoral challenges.
The Pope met with the bishops on August 21 shortly before leaving the country after a four-day trip that featured a vigil and Mass with more than 1 million youths.
He said the bishops should channel the enthusiasm generated by the events and find new ways to reach out to young people.
Above all, he said, they should recognise that young people are indeed open to the Gospel.
In the closed door meeting with the bishops, the Pope bluntly described the decline of Church influence in Germany, where only about 15 per cent of Catholics attend Mass regularly.
He said the situation is especially worrying in the eastern part of the country, the former Communist East Germany, where the majority of the population is not baptised and has no contact with the Church.
The Pope also said the shortage of priests and religious in Germany had reached “dramatic proportions”, and he asked the bishops to promote vocations with new energy.
The Catholic Leader is an Australian award-winning Catholic newspaper that has been published by the Archdiocese of Brisbane since 1929. Our journalism seeks to provide a full, accurate and balanced Catholic perspective of local, national and international news while upholding the dignity of the human person.
The Catholic Leader acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of this country and especially acknowledge the traditional owners on whose lands we live and work throughout the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.