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Pope Benedict XVI: Witness to Ecumenism

Address on the occasion of a visit by the German Ambassador on the 13th of September, 2010

Many Christians in Germany are turning their full attention to the imminent celebration of the beatifications of various priests martyred under the Nazi regime. The Beatifications of Georg Häfner in Würzburg, as well as of Johannes Prassek, Hermann Lange and of Eduard Müller in Lübeck, will take place in the coming year. The Evangelical Pastor Karl Friedrich Stellbrink will also be commemorated, together with the Chaplains of Lübeck. The attested friendship of four clerics is an impressive testimony of the ecumenism of prayer and suffering which flourished in various places during the dark period of Nazi terror. We can look to these witnesses as luminous indicators for our common ecumenical journey.

In contemplating these martyrs it appears ever more clearly and as an example that on the basis of their Christian conviction some people are prepared to give their life for their faith, for the right to practise what they believe freely, for freedom of speech, for peace and for human dignity. Today, fortunately, we live in a free and democratic society. Yet, at the same time, we note that many of our contemporaries are not strongly attached to religion, as was the case with these witnesses of faith. One might ask whether there are still Christians today who guarantee their faith without compromises. On the contrary, generally many people show an inclination for more permissive religious concepts, also for themselves.

Translation: Holy See Press Office



Pope Benedict XVI made this address on the occasion of a visit by the German Ambassador to the Holy See, Walter Jürgen Schmid, on the 13th of September, 2010. The above is an excerpt from that address.

Read the entire address