The eagerly awaited interview book of the Pope "Light of the World" was officially presented on Tuesday. The president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, presented the 220-page work at a press conference in the Vatican. It contains far more surprises than the previously discussed condom ie.
One of the sensations of the new Pope's book was already revealed in advance – and developed into media hype. In his interview "Light of the World" Benedict XVI signals. More church flexibility in the fight against AIDS. Although this does not mean a turnaround in Catholic sexual morals, as the media suggested. But in certain cases, condoms – generally taboo for the church so far – could be acceptable after all: for example, to prevent infection by an HIV-infected partner.
The alleged change of course initially overshadowed the rest of the Pope's interview – which itself is already a sensation. Never before has a pope explained his pontificate in this form, explained the background to his decisions, analyzed successes and mistakes, answered critical questions from AIDS to celibacy – and in the process revealed much that is human. The "armored cardinal" proves to be an open, empathetic shepherd who talks about his personal fears (at the election of the pope) and his joys (at the World Youth Days). He gives vent to his anger over Vatican press relations on Pius brothers. It admits a "super-gau" in the case of Williamson – whose excommunication it would never have taken back, if it had known its Holocaust remarks. He admits that he does not play any sports and lets it be known that he always wears a white cassock and never a leisure sweater.
In 220 pages and 90 questions, the Munich publicist Peter Seewald presents a broad picture of five years of Benedict XVI's pontificate. Among the outstanding events, the Pope counts his trips abroad and – perhaps somewhat surprisingly – the Pauline Year of 2008-09, as well as the Year for Priests, which has just ended. He also places in the forefront the problems that overshadowed his fifth year in office after the surprisingly positive start. Politics, on the other hand, is left out of the interview, apart from a few words on human rights, peace and justice.
Work of John Paul II. continue
Benedict XVI. does not see a completely new task for his pontificate – just like John Paul II. (1978-2005) had to lead the church into the third millennium. He wants to continue his work, to grasp the drama of the times, to proclaim the Word of God in it, and to give Christianity its simplicity and depth, without which it cannot be effective.
It is astonishing, but conclusive, how Benedict XVI. puts the controversial withdrawal of excommunication for the traditionalist bishops in a parallel with the much-praised reconciliation with the patriotic bishops of China. Who submits to the primacy of the Pope
– what both groups did – for whom the reason for excommunication no longer applies, the pope made clear.
The pope speaks broadly and with unknown details about the abuse scandals. The extent of these events was a tremendous shock for him, even if it did not come as a complete surprise. His letter addressed to the Irish Church applied to all countries in similar situations, he said when asked why he did not address a letter of his own to his compatriots. He did not want to comment on the criticism of German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU). She had apparently been incompletely informed about what the church had been saying and doing in the meantime.
Classic inner-church problems
On the classic inner-church problems such as celibacy, remarried divorcees or women's priesthood, the book confirms well-known positions. Homosexuality is for him "against the inner sense of sexuality"; therefore homosexuals could not become priests. In addition, Benedict XVI underlines. signals the urgency of ecumenism; it is more promising with Orthodoxy than with Protestants. He reaffirms close ties with Jews, whom he prefers to call "fathers in the faith" rather than "elder brothers" because the latter term is pejorative. He pays tribute to his predecessor Pius XII. (1939-1958), who had saved more Jews than any other
– and therefore "one of the great just". The statement has already met with criticism from French Jews.
Quite a few speculations and amptions are made in the interview of Benedict XVI. specified and clarified: that the time was not yet ripe for a Third Vatican Council. That he would have liked to be able to give the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kyrill I. He would like to meet with the people of Rome and Moscow and considers a not too distant Rome-Moscow meeting possible. That he would not resign because of individual factual problems in office, but if he were no longer physically, psychologically or spiritually up to its demands.
"Finding ways of livability"
As a task for the further course of his pontificate, Benedict XVI describes. first and foremost, the new evangelization. In a world in which science and progressive thinking seem to make the "hypothesis of God" superfluous and in which a "dictatorship of relativism" is spreading, the Christian faith must be rooted anew. An inner balance must be struck between human ability and spiritual growth, he said. And to this the church must make its contribution.
Not only on the condom ie does Benedict XVI signal. in the interview Opening. In matters of contraception and "Humanae vitae," he said, many things need to be reconsidered and restated. With all the right perspectives, she says, it is necessary to "find ways of livability". Despite church crisis and resignation numbers, Benedict XVI demonstrates. More confidence than skepticism. In addition to break-ins in the West, he says, there are encouraging break-ins elsewhere. He sees a large part of this in the spiritual movements, which bring more new elan to the church than old bureaucracies – and which make the presence of God the central point again.