German cardinal thanks Pope Francis for his letter’s call to conversion

Cologne, Germany, Jun 29, 2019 / 03:30 am (CNA).- German Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki thanked Pope Francis for ‘fearlessly’ calling Catholics in Germany to be a missionary church in a letter published Saturday.

“It is refreshing how clearly and fearlessly the Holy Father also puts into words the terms which we often express in this country only with hesitation and a certain timidity, which we have almost lost: repentance, conversion, mission,” Cardinal Woelki said in a statement June 29.

Pope Francis published a more than 5,700 word letter addressed to Catholics in Germany Saturday calling for a focus on evangelization in the face of the “erosion” and “decline of the faith” in the country.

The Archbishop of Cologne said that it is obvious that Pope Francis shares the concern of many German Catholics: “How can we preserve the faith today and pass it on to the next generation?”

According to research recently published by the University of Freiburg, the number of officially registered Catholics in Germany is predicted to halve by 2060.

“The forthcoming process of change cannot respond exclusively to external facts and needs, such as the sharp decline in the birth rate and the ageing of communities, which do not allow a normal generational change to be considered,” Pope Francis said in his letter.

“A true process of change … makes demands that arise from our Christianity and from the very dynamics of the evangelization of the Church; such a process requires pastoral conversion,” he said.

Cardinal Woelki responded, “the fact that Pope Francis even speaks of ‘erosion and decay of faith’ in Germany shows that he really does not gloss over anything and also encourages us not to close our eyes to reality.”

This is “first and foremost a crisis of faith,” the German cardinal said.

“Let us be infected by the ‘hopeful serenity’ that Pope Francis has written to us with this letter. It is the serenity of all who are fully devoted to Christ,” Woelki said.

“Let’s take the words of the Holy Father, let’s take them seriously! Let us carry the Good News into the world of today!”

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  1. I read it. Im sorry but I couldnt make heads or tails of it. Word salad with a whole bottle of Thousand Island dumped on top.

  2. In view of the Pope’s exhortation AL and his refusal to clarify and then his implicit endorsement of the Eucharist for non-Catholics, this Germany discourse makes no sense.

  3. Apart from the Letter, we might recall that the commenting Cardinal Woelke was among the seven German bishops who in 2018 went around Cardinal Marx (President of the German Bishops Conference) to solicit directly and in writing a CLARIFICATION FROM ROME whether Marx’s German initiative to admit spouses of Catholics to the Eucharist was out of line.

    They chose to not inform Marx of this request, and the local Marx maneuver—with universal implications—thankfully came under deserved scrutiny.

    Cardinal Ladaria Ferrer, Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), then CLARIFIED that Marx’s initiative was out of line, and he left the German hierarchy to fix its own wagon, rather than giving silent and, therefore, implied approval from the universal Church. (The novelty continues in Germany, but is quarantined from the rest of the Mystical Body of Christ.)

    So, Woelke is not to be tarred with the same brush as Cardinal Marx, and might even be a rare SHINING STAR in the German hierarchy. He is then quoted above as saying that the issue is “first and foremost a CRISIS OF FAITH” The question, then is what does THIS mean?

    The “CRISIS” part, especially in Germany, is obvious…But, does Rome mean a narrowed “FAITH” in bare-bones REVELATION, but increasingly AMPUTATED IN PRACTICE from the inborn Natural Law/moral doctrine–now increasingly displaced by “anthropological cultural change” and urgent terrestrial agendas?

    The C-9 (now C-6) kitchen cabinet of cardinals is reportedly on track to recommend by September a super-dicastery of Evangelization (?), reportedly/ speculatively at the expense of marginalized CDF. If so, the validity of Church teaching on personal morals will never be explicitly denied, just not mentioned.

    Instead, “accompaniment” on a road with no definitive end point, and under a “new paradigm” road design not so narrow as we have faithfully understood for two millennia (Mt 7:13-14).

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