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Before pope visit, Merkel warns against 'advance of secularism'

The Local · 17 Sep 2011, 12:52

Published: 17 Sep 2011 12:52 GMT+02:00

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"I think it is important to constantly reinforce the unity of Christians at a time when we are confronted by a growing secularism," said Merkel, who is herself the daughter of a Protestant pastor who died earlier this month.

"What the Christian faith has in common should always be remembered," she said in her weekly video podcast.

Merkel also said that she was "particularly pleased" at the prospect of Benedict coming to Germany for his first official visit since being elected pope in April 2005.

During his visit, which begins on Thursday and wraps up Sunday of next week, Benedict XVI will visit Berlin, Erfurt in the ex-German Democratic Republic, and Freiburg.

The 84-year old pope will give 18 sermons and speeches during his 21st trip abroad, according to his spokesman.

The visit is already mired in controversy, with a number of theologians leading vocal criticism over the Vatican's antiquated attitudes.

But Merkel said that the visit was an opportunity to recall how Europe was marked by the Christian faith.

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"This is a source of strength which we should encourage through dialogue among the religions," added Merkel, who heads the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:44 September 17, 2011 by Aybara
Benedicts arrival is very nice for the German population whose life is entwined with religion. For the majority of northern Germany though this is not the case.

Despite this schism, no pun intended, Benedict will have a lot of good ideas to preach. Whether you are a Christian or not, the words of the Bible are a good guideline for how you might live your life.

Listen and ponder my friends. Think about your position in the world.
15:47 September 17, 2011 by Englishted
Go away you sad old unimportant relic of a bygone age.
19:14 September 17, 2011 by ND1000
@Englished, why dont you take a hike pal. You are nothing more than a pseudo intellectual bigot with nothing good to say about anything. Another miserable whining sod.
19:29 September 17, 2011 by cobalisk
The Bible is a good guideline to lead your life? Which parts exactly?

Slaughtering animals to atone for sin?

Putting people to death for doing work on the sabbath?

Punishing children for their parents crimes?

Killing all of your enemies, even their children so that their seed does not wreak vengance?

Umm, no thanks.

As for the Pope's visit - well he is German, he bloody well should visit here.
19:36 September 17, 2011 by Gretl
'But Merkel said that the visit was an opportunity to recall how Europe was marked by the Christian faith.'

Robbed by the lesser brothers of nobility, sold a bill a goods that their money would buy their loved ones out of some lesser hell, that their toil would be rewarded in the "afterlife", the biggest Ponzi scheme-ever! Then there was the persecution of the remaining pagans, the women healers, competitors who weren't on the same page, and wars against protestants who didn't like growing monopoly. Then there's the "celibate" (again, wealth-management) priesthood and their issues.

The sooner it all goes away, the better.
19:42 September 17, 2011 by KamiZ
How can the head of government of a secular country warn against the advance of secularism?!?!?! And how can an immigrant of non-Christian faith feel welcome in a country where the Chancellor is asking to "constantly reinforce the unity of Christians"? Where is the place for a non-Christian individual in this society?
23:01 September 17, 2011 by melbournite
Oh dear. Secularism has been advancing for some 250 years now. Obviously not fast enough. Keep your medieval fairy stories in your churches and leave the rest of us alone.
23:04 September 17, 2011 by Hans Tuga
@KamiZ That's what Concentration Camps were for...

Don't forget who created the NPVD.. Before the thule society, catholic priests were the main influence in the national socialist camp... And it was the predecessor of the CDU : the Zentrum party that put the nazi in power inside the state machine.
00:31 September 18, 2011 by DOZ
I wonder where we would be today if religion never showed it's ugly head.
05:00 September 18, 2011 by jbaker
He looks like he get no sleep. The pressures of knowing all the secrets of the Roman Catholic Church throughout it's history and many more interesting things must take a heavy toll.

@DOZ- Religion is on it's way out, along with it's baggage.
06:54 September 18, 2011 by hOU
Lacking sleep? He looks like the Anti-Christ.

Christianity, what poison .... Danke, nein.
08:28 September 18, 2011 by karldehm
Give him a break' Although I don't agree with him on most issues, he is still trying to do good. There are millions of Christianity whose lives have been enriched by following its principals and we can all learn something positive if we only open our eyes. Unless someone can come up with a better system, I think you should keep your petty comments to yourself.

The faults of Christianity has been the faults of men not Christianity in itself.

I wish I look as good as he, when I am his age.
11:08 September 18, 2011 by frankiep
Wow. Most of you people are really filled with bitterness and hatred. Very sad.

And for those ignoramuses who claim that we would all be better off if Christianity never existed, then you must also believe that we would be better off without:

The Red Cross

The Salvation Army


The idea of due process under the law which comes from the New Testament

The Magna Carta, which forms the basis of the idea of civic liberties and that everyone should be subject to the law of the land and not to arbitrary edicts, was heavily influenced by Christian ideology

The principle of separation of powers, where no single person or branch of government has supreme authority, comes from the Bible - Isaiah 33:22

The practice of universal education (formal education for all, not just the rich and privileged)

Priceless works of art, and artists such as Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Bach, etc., who were all deeply influenced by Christianity

I am not the least bit religious, but am at least honest enough to recognize that Christianity has made a huge positive contribution to the world. But of course there are those, as evidenced by many of the comments here, who have a vicious hatred towards Christianity because Christians are not perfect and are subject to human frailties and weaknesses like anyone else.

We all know that humanity as a whole can be very cruel and merciless. So I have a question for you haters of Christianity, those of you who are not subject to human failings. It is obvious that you never do anything that could be considered bad, but what are you doing to try to improve conditions in the world? That is, outside of vehemently condemning an organisation and ideology which has been trying to improve the world for the past 2000 years.
13:52 September 18, 2011 by Englishted

I am right though don't you agree.

P.S." why dont you take a hike pal"

Do you mean a nice walk in the fresh air ?.

I also don't think of myself as your pal, if by that you mean friend .
13:58 September 18, 2011 by tychonaut
@ franklep

I you make good points. But something that I like to say when people cite all of the things Christianity accomplished is.. do you think if Thomas Edison had never lived, we would still be reading be candlelight?

I appreciate that Christianity has had an undeniable influence on culture and history... but if it hadn't existed, perhaps we would have had some other body/organization that *didn't* feed us all that eternal damnation/impure sinner story.

Whether we would be better off? Who's to say? Maybe it was that drive, the "whip of hellfire" that kept Europe's pace up through history... maybe it wasn't. It's like trying to think what your life would be like if you had different grandparents.
15:13 September 18, 2011 by Nordhalbener
Amazing how the Catholic Church haters seem to find time to vent their vitriol against the Catholic Church in almost every news report about the Church or the Pope. You haters are wasting your time - and the gift of life which God has given to you. Your hate will get you nowhere. Try to love someone today.
15:56 September 18, 2011 by jbaker
Spirituality(God if you want to call it) does not come from or originate in any religion - It comes from within - your eternal soul. All religions are control vehicles - that goes for Christianity,Muslem,Jewish,Buddist and the hundreds of others that exist and have existed for eternity.

Hate Sucks. Eternal Love Prevails - No matter your race,religion or sex.
17:29 September 18, 2011 by Englishted

"do you think if Thomas Edison had never lived, we would still be reading be candlelight? "

If Germany doesn't get something to replace nuclear power ,this winter we could be reading by candlelight.
18:33 September 18, 2011 by domoresti
Did someone ACTUALLY use the existence of the YMCA to justify 2000 years of rekigious oppression???
21:03 September 18, 2011 by starsh3ro
this weird person celebrating himself while most of his praying followers are starving to death.

i dont need him in germany, he can stay where he is, together with religion.
21:10 September 18, 2011 by macartan
Where is the original German quote from Merkel? Nothing I have found is so anti-secular as the headline to this article. Can it be a mistranslation?
21:11 September 18, 2011 by geniearse

What exactly is the connection between the Red Cross and christianity?

I must be one of the ignoramuses you refer to as I was under the impression it was a secular organisation. Just because it has a cross in its title, you should not automatically assume God created it.
23:43 September 18, 2011 by Logic Guy
Well, for starters, religion will in one way or another have a huge impact on your life, even if you don't believe in God or religion. The fact is, the ideology of every national government on earth is based upon a particular religion.

Although there is no "Official Religion" for nations such as America and Germany, their basic approach to living is nonetheless centered on Christianity. And at the end of the day, life will either be a reflection of Christianity, or a different religion. This is what Angela Merkel was making reference to.

I agree that religion should be as inward as possible. There should be a real limit on all religious buildings. For one, the earth isn't getting larger, as population increases. And two, SURELY it would be much more wise to plant more trees, than to "build" more problems.
03:42 September 19, 2011 by baddaboom
i am confused-isnt she a quantum nuclear biologist with advanced degrees and doctorates?

then WHY is she supporting in any way THE CHICANERY of that failed superstition the mentally ill cult of stone age quackery that calls its self a church

it should be BANNED the churches either TORN DOWN or converted to gmy schools factorys apartments etc

all church LANDS SHOULD BE CONFISCATED distributed to the poorl and all bank accounts all the gold in the churchs should be melted down and given to the poor.

all the clergy of the church should be disenfranchised and treated as SLAVES and worked into the very dirt they claim we came from ...which is a lie as well

MERKAL knows the scientific truth of the church yet she stands with them politcally

that means she has to go SHE IS IN THE WAY

i would prefer to burn her at the stake along with all the other religious people but i will settle for voting her OUT after all i AM civilized.
13:54 September 19, 2011 by gffdss
That's by far the kookiest thing I've ever heard from Merkel. She suddenly reminds me of Sarah Palin.

Who's that spooky anti-Christ figure standing next to her in the photo?
19:54 September 19, 2011 by Englishted
The following commentators get my vote of thanks ,


Free thinking is not dead,yet.
02:22 September 20, 2011 by baddaboom
the MESSIAH was SUPPOSED to be born of the lineage of KING DAVID which joseph was of BUT since he was BORN OF A VIRGIN that negates the messiah lineage arguement and TOTALLY destroys the catholic claim of his proper DIVINITY since he HAS NO CONNECTION to the HOUSE OF DAVID

08:03 September 20, 2011 by parografik
If you play baddaboom's comment on a turntable backwords, it says very clearly, "I buried St. Paul."

Benedict played an active role in protecting pedophiles from the laws of various countries. Who's the next criminal Merkel will endorse? I find this effort to recall the mark of Christianity a signal similar to the U.S. politicians pandering to the right.

I expected better, though I don't know why I should.
20:08 September 20, 2011 by Major B
Aybara, agree with you completely and well said.

Frankiep, I don't believe it. I agree with you on something.

baddaboom, what are you talking about?

All, isn't it funny how we can have this discussion about Christianity? A FREE discussion. But as soon as anyone, says anything that can REMOTELY be construed as criticism of Islam, then an army of fanatics are unleashed to try to kill you. And I say this with much respect and reverance to the religion of Islam.

No, it is man, us, who unleash hatred, vitriol, filth and violence in the world. And don't for one instant think we aren't being watched and held accountable.

Hats off to the Great Chancelor(first time I've called her great). I so respect her as a leader in Europe of all places who stepped forward to pronounce her faith. It is done in the Islamic world all the time. More Christians leaders should stop forward as well
22:19 September 21, 2011 by BananaDog
Maybe Merkel can ask him to buy Greece and solve everyone's problems that way.
15:24 September 24, 2011 by Bruno53
Well, personally I am not a practicing Catholic. Don't mind those who are. If you disagree with Rome, just quit membership and go somewhere else. Now, is that more a "common sense"? And Mr Pope has total right to visit Germany. That's his country after all.
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