Benedict XVI Will Stir Germany Positively, Says Nuncio

Particularly on Ecumenism, Says Archbishop Ender

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BERLIN, APRIL 21, 2005 ( Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s election to the papacy «might have very positive influences for the Church in Germany,» predicts the papal nuncio in Berlin.

Archbishop Edwin Josef Ender, German representative of the Pope in the German capital, expressed his «joy» to ZENIT over the «felicitous decision» and said that he liked to see «the good reactions that the election has had in Poland, where he is seen as John Paul II’s closest collaborator and as a person who will carry his legacy forward.»

The new Roman Pontiff confirmed in his first message that he is planning to return to his homeland for World Youth Day, which will take place in Cologne in mid-August.

Archbishop Ender highlighted Benedict XVI’s «great spirit and formation» and said with a smile: «Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.»

In the face of the criticisms expressed by some groups about the new Pope, the papal representative asked that the Holy Father be give an «opportunity» and suggested that people not focus excessively on his past. «He is very competent; we must look ahead,» he said.

«His reception is certainly not enveloped in the enthusiasm of the election of Pope John Paul II, as at that time the historical circumstances in Poland were very different,» he added. «Let’s look to the future and put controversies aside.

«I am optimistic in regard to ecumenical relations; it depends, of course, on both sides, but he will be committed as was his predecessor.»

«Cardinal Ratzinger certainly did not need to learn or study ecumenism, as he was born in the land of the Reformation,» the nuncio observed. «John Paul II’s baggage was very different; he came from a land where there were not Catholics and Protestants, but believers and nonbelievers.»

«The great reformation is always to return to the sources, to the Gospel, and he will do so,» Archbishop Ender observed. «I met him in 1981 when he already was in the Secretariat of State and I can tell you he is very promising, he has great spiritual stature.»

«Yesterday on television the Pope’s brother recalled that one day, years ago, [Joseph Ratzinger] had mentioned that he liked the name ‘Benedict’ for popes,» the nuncio said. «I think that in deciding on the name he was also influenced by his native land, Bavaria, full of Benedictine monasteries.»

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