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Benedict XVI to minor seminary: What has withered in Germany still blossoms in Poland

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has written a letter to the Minor Seminary of the Archdiocese of Częstochowa.

Pope Benedict XVI on Aug. 28, 2010./ L'Osservatore Romano.

CNA Staff, May 20, 2021 / 13:00 pm (CNA).

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has written to a minor seminary in Poland, saying that he is delighted to see “how in Poland still blossoms what in Germany has withered.”

The retired German pope sent the letter, dated May 7, to the Minor Seminary of the Archdiocese of Częstochowa, located in the southern Polish city that is home to the venerated icon of the Black Madonna.

The 94-year-old pope emeritus wrote: “The letter from your seminary, signed by the two prefects and the dean, brought great joy to my house. It is wonderful to see how in Poland still blossoms what in Germany has withered.”

He continued: “I particularly liked the illustration which shows my brother and me talking about the seminary and the invitation to me to visit the Minor Seminary of the Archdiocese of Częstochowa.”

“Even if, given my age and state of health, it is no longer possible for me to visit you in person, I am your guest with my heart.”

The illustration, shown on the minor seminary’s website, features a photograph of Benedict XVI as pope, walking beside his late older brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger.

In a speech balloon, Benedict reminisces about the brothers’ time at a minor seminary in Bavaria, southern Germany. Msgr. Ratzinger, in reply, wonders if there are any such places these days.

At the foot of the illustration, it says: “In fact, there are! Come and see. The Minor Seminary of the Archdiocese of Częstochowa invites you.”

The minor seminary, for high school-age students, dates back to 1951.

CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, noted that this was not the first time that Benedict, who served as pope from 2005 to 2013, has highlighted the decline in priestly vocations.

In a 2019 essay on the crisis in the Church, the pope emeritus wrote: “On the problem of preparation for priestly ministry in seminaries, there is indeed a widespread breakdown of the previous form of this preparation.”

The theologian said that after the Second Vatican Council, “in not a few seminaries, students who were caught reading my books were viewed as unsuitable for the priesthood.”

He added: “My books were hidden like bad literature and only read under the desk, as it were.”

CNA Deutsch reported that the number of priestly ordinations has fallen by 60% in Germany in the past 20 years.

In 2019, the country saw a record low of 55 ordinations across Germany. When the future Pope Benedict XVI received the sacrament of Holy Orders in 1951, there were 45 ordinations within his Archdiocese of Munich and Freising alone.

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  1. Our beloved Benedict and brother Georg must have spent much time together grieving about what has happened in their country. No doubt everyone has seen the outrageous film clip of BXVI reaching out to the German bishops,and they, in response, turning their backs on him. It is so offensive. The Zeitgeist is the German Pope. What else could inspire such rudeness, such amazing nastiness!

  2. Pope Benedict speaks of the formation of Priests and how much has been lost. At one time the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas took a special role in the formation of Seminarians preparing for the Priestly life. Then at Vatican ll, it was decided to do away with the “Old Theology”, specifically naming St. Thomas Aquinas as part of the Old Theology. It was opted to do away with the old and to take up the “New Theology” to supplant it. What Vatican ll decided for seminarian formation has proven to be a catastrophe. I argue that the Vatican ll we got created a new religion much in line with the condemned Modernism. Modernist doctrines became the rule and it continues to be so. But to fix this it seems only Divine Intervention can do it. If Pope Benedict XVl was still sitting on the throne of St. Peter, he would be the Divine Intervention as he was already reforming the Seminaries.

  3. So right Kathleen. But Pope Benendict XVI has taken action. In his Moto Proprio he liberated the Holy Spirit to retake the compromised church, enabling priests one by one – without seeking permission from perhaps compromised bishops – to return to the Catholic religion as taught and celebrated down to 1962. As the schism orchestrated by the second bishop in white’s right hand man the C6 Cardinal Marx, German priests with open eyes can follow the Moto Proprio back to the Faith of the Fathers. They have permission from Pope Benedcit XVI to celebrate TLM 7 days a week without asking their perhaps compromised local bishop. It was the solution he provided, and the only option he had available. The World Changes, the Latin Mass and Holy Rosary remain to save us from it, and influence it. The tragedy of the modernist heresy, is that this vital spiritual process of Church influencing World was inverted. It is the nature of heresies… Let us all take heart from the Martyr-Pope Benedict’s latest published letter to Poland, and continue to read his beautiful texts published by Ignatius. The wolves in modernist clothing, liberated from sacred tradition, are enjoying their great apostasy. But Praise and Glory be to our Lord Jesus Christ for Pope Benendict’s Moto Proprio and his continued sacrificial presence at the heart of Holy Mother Church.

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