Please keep our dear Papa Benny in your prayers over the coming days: he is heading for one of his hardest gigs yet, the first State Visit to Germany. For some idea of what he is up against, you might want to listen to this podcast from Vatican Radio, an interview with Paul Badde, Vatican correspondent for Die Welt.
It is a very enlightening interview. Badde has no qualms about calling Berlin “a pagan city”.
Of great interest of course is the Pope’s planned trip to Erfurt. Badde has much to say on the significance of the visit for the relationship between the Lutherans and Catholics.
For instance, Badde says:
First of all the pope is not going to beatify him, but then again he is taking into consideration that he has been an Augustine monk. The majority, 98 percent of the Catholics, are much more Protstant than Luther ever imagined… And now, strangely enough, there are quite a few protestants who pray for the pope that he can give [them] new orientation.
Benedict may not “beatify” Luther, but I am very much looking foreward to what he does say about him on his visit to Erfurt. As Badde points out, Benedict knows Luther’s works well, and he will almost certainly offer some interpretation or some comment on Luther.
Badde concludes his interview by saying of Pope Benedict: “He is the biggest challenge to Germany since Martin Luther”.
Watch this one carefully.