President of Germany's Bishops on the Year of Faith (Part 2)

Bishop Zollitsch on Preparations and Expectations

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By Jan Bentz

ROME. JULY 18, 2012 ( On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, Benedict XVI has proclaimed a Year of Faith, which will begin Oct. 11.

In an exclusive interview with ZENIT, the president of the German Episcopal Conference, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Fribourg of Brisgovia spoke of the event and of the situation of the faith in Germany.

Part 1 was published Monday.

ZENIT: The Pope hopes that this year there will be a deepening knowledge of the principal writings of Vatican II and of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as a compendium of Catholic Doctrine. How has his wish been received by the German bishops? In all this, what role will the new technologies play? And, in regard to young people, will YouCat also be used?

Archbishop Zollitsch: On the Internet, for example, on the homepage of the German Episcopal Conference, we offer texts of the Council to be reread and discovered, as well as the Catechism. These documents are constitutive for the life of the Church. Hence, it’s not a question of activism, but an increase of our forces of mediation, which have been going ahead for many years. We are not beginning now, rather I am happy that with the modern means of communication we have already made important progress. To transmit the Catechism in its totality might not seem easy at the beginning. However, the reading of it is important: this is what we German bishops try to explain. In this context, YouCat will play an important role.

ZENIT: In the Note with Pastoral Indications for the Year of Faith, there is mention of a local catechisms and of various catechetical aids, and ensuring their full conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church (II,9). What is the German Episcopal Conference doing in this regard?

Archbishop Zollitsch: Yes, we are working on it. We must review and update our publications regularly. In this field there is also exchange with Rome and this is a good thing.

ZENIT: The same Note says that the Year of Faith will be a “propitious occasion for a more attentive reception of the homilies, catecheses, addresses and other interventions of the Holy Father” (I,7). Is it also a good suggestion for Germany?

Archbishop Zollitsch: Of course, we are doing this. It is enough to look at,  the Web site of the Episcopal Conference. Two years ago we created a section for the important addresses of the Pope. Thus we try to spread the Holy Father’s words on the Internet and in many printed publications. There is virtually no other country in which so many papal texts are published as there are by us in Germany.

ZENIT: To reinforce the faith means to develop one’s own Christian identity, which implies courageous witness in an increasingly skeptical, if not outright hostile society in confrontations with Catholic doctrine. Could you say some words of encouragement to Christians who are discriminated against today?

Archbishop Zollitsch: We Christians in Germany know situations of persecution given our history. Today we have the duty to help Christians who are oppressed elsewhere “on my account” (cf. Matthew 5:11) and all those who are persecuted unjustly. Our prayer is requested, but also an active commitment to bring about religious liberty at the global level. I would like to encourage communities to continue witnessing their faith and their disposition to non-violence, which stems from the Gospel. They must not lose heart, because the witness of the Gospel is and always will be a sign of contradiction. We have been given hope: “Where there is God, there is future.” Above all we must look at the numerous Christians who mold their life on faith and do great things for our society. There are many good and encouraging things in Germany, inspired in the Gospel and carried forward by Christian faith. He who does not look solely at the defects, but at the good, will learn to marvel and will become grateful.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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