FREIBURG, Germany, SEPT. 24, 2011 ( The Pope offered an analysis of German society today when meeting with the council of the Central Committee for German Catholics, suggesting that while the nation has many positive qualities, it lacks in the relational and religious spheres.

He invited those present at the seminary of the Archdiocese of Freiburg im Breisgau to consider what foreigners might learn about the lifestyle of Germans and the country's culture if they were to spend a week with an average family.

"They would find much to admire here, for example the prosperity, the order and the efficiency," the Pontiff surmised. "But looking on with unprejudiced eyes, they would also see plenty of poverty: poverty in human relations and poverty in the religious sphere."

"We live at a time that is broadly characterized by a subliminal relativism that penetrates every area of life," the Holy Father affirmed. "Sometimes this relativism becomes aggressive, when it opposes those who say that they know where the truth or meaning of life is to be found.

"And we observe that this relativism exerts more and more influence on human relationships and on society. This is reflected, among other things, in the inconstancy and fragmentation of many people's lives and in an exaggerated individualism."

Benedict XVI stated that many in modern society "no longer seem capable of any form of self-denial or of making a sacrifice for others."

"We see that in our affluent western world much is lacking," the Holy Father continued. "Many people lack experience of God's goodness."

The Pope noted that while the Church in Germany is well organize, "we must honestly admit that we have more than enough by way of structure but not enough by way of Spirit. I would add: the real crisis facing the Church in the western world is a crisis of faith.

"If we do not find a way of genuinely renewing our faith, all structural reform will remain ineffective."

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