Benedict XVI Remembers Dark Times Under Nazi Power

Speaks to Marian Group From His Youth

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 30, 2011 ( Benedict XVI enjoyed memories of his youth when he was visited Saturday by members of a German Marian group that he joined as a teenager.

The Pope addressed the Marianische Männer-Congregation «Mariä Verkündung» (the Sodality of Our Lady), of Regensburg.

As he noted, the Holy Father joined the group when he was in minor seminary.

He recalled the «dark times» of the War, speaking of how «Hitler had subjected one country after another, Poland, Denmark, the Benelux States and France, and in April of 1941 — precisely in this season 70 years ago — he had occupied Yugoslavia and Greece.»

«It seemed that the Continent was in the hands of this power that, at the same time, cast doubt on the future of Christianity,» the Pontiff said.

The Holy Father’s participation in the Marian organization was hampered by the dissolution of the seminary, when the «war began against Russia» and the group «was already scattered to the four winds.»

Nevertheless, the Marian bond continued, he affirmed, since «Catholicity cannot exist without a Marian expression.»

«To be Catholics means to be Marian … that in the Mother and by the Mother we find the Lord,» he said.

Latin America

Benedict XVI told the members of the Sodality of his Marian experiences today as Bishop of Rome.

«Here,» he said, «through bishops’ ‘ad limina’ visits, I constantly witness how people — above all in Latin America, but also on the other continents — can entrust themselves to the Mother, can love the Mother and, through the Mother they learn to know, understand and love Christ. I see how the Mother continues entrusting the world to the Lord, how Mary continues to say ‘yes’ and to bring Christ into the world.»

The Pope reflected that Mariology in the Germany of his youth was «a bit austere and sober,» and, he said, «I believe it has not changed much today.»

«I believe, however, that we found the essential,» the Pope reflected.

«Mary is the great believer,» he said. «She took up Abraham’s mission to be a believer and made Abraham’s faith concrete in faith in Jesus Christ, thus indicating to us the whole way of faith, the courage of entrusting ourselves to that God who gives himself into our hands.»

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