VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 20, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI heads to Germany on Thursday to propose answers to life’s most essential questions, just as concerns about the future of the earth and the economy weigh heavily in the minds of many, says a Vatican spokesman.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, offered this description of the Pope’s trip during the most recent edition of Vatican Television’s “Octava Dies.”
The Holy Father will be in Germany through Sunday, his third visit to his homeland as Pope, though for the first time as an official guest of the state.
Father Lombardi noted the motto the Pontiff has chosen for the trip: “Where God is, there is a future.”
The priest proposed that we are living in times of “concern for the future: the future of planet Earth and of life on it, the future of the world economy and of peace among peoples, the future of Europe and of the nations that form part of it, the future of young people and children who are venturing into life.”
The theme was taken from words Benedict XVI said in his homily in the Austrian Shrine of Mariazell four years ago, Father Lombardi explained, when the Pope “interpreted Europe’s demographic crisis as a sign of lack of confidence in the future.”
“Yet the earth will be deprived of a future only when the forces of the human heart and of reason illuminated by the heart are extinguished — when the face of God no longer shines upon the earth. Where God is, there is the future,” the Pontiff said on that occasion.
The Vatican spokesman recalled that “from the first day of his election, Pope Benedict explained to us that the proclamation of the primacy of God would be the first priority of his pontificate. Who is God? How can we see his face? Where can he be found and how can one speak with him? How does the relationship with God guide the life of each person and his responsibility in society, laying the foundation for a search for justice and law?”
Father Lombardi said the answers to questions such as these are what to expect from the Pope in Germany: “Passing through a country where the totalitarian denial of God has demonstrated its most extreme consequences, we will reflect together on how to involve ourselves — as persons, as believers in God, as Christians and as Catholics — in the construction of a future worthy of man.”