Pope Benedict XVI is arriving in Germany today for a whirlwind tour of Berlin, Erfurt, and Freiberg. For his speech in Berlin’s old Olympic stadium, seating 70,000, the tickets are sold out. He plans to hold services at the fairgrounds in Frieburg near the airport. He has told the Germans that this is not religious tourism or show. His motto is” where God is there is the future”.
Supposedly 30% of Germany’s 80 million citizens are Catholics. But the Catholic population is declining, a decline it is the goal of his papacy to reverse.
This pope who was once conscripted by the Nazis has a difficult road to pursue. Europe’s Catholics were dealt a blow by World War I almost a century ago as were all relgions and traditional philosophies. Hitler was raised as an Austrian Catholic, but his life changed after his time in the trenches. He founded National Socialism, which didn’t espouse any religion.
Since World War II more and more Germans have become non-religious. We will see what Pope Benedict can do.