Edit: this is one of the clearest criticisms directed against the "professional Catholics" of the Official Church we've ever heard. It actually echoes Mathias Mattusek's comments earlier today wherein he suggested the end of the Church tax in Germany as a radical solution. It would certainly put a dent in many of the Old Liberal structures which constantly work against real reform and the work of the Gospel in Germany.
Benedict XVI. directed criticism against lay societies in his speech to the [very anti-Catholic lay board] Central Committee of German Catholics! The actual crisis in the Church in the Western world is a crisis of Faith.
Freiburg (kath.net) At the meeting with the "Central Committee of German Catholics" Pope Benedict XVI expressed himself very critically over the situation in society and the Church in Germany: "For years the so-called 'Exposure Programs' have been giving developmental assistance", said the Pope. "Those responsible in politics, business and Church life have participated in the concrete daily life for a certain time in Africa, Asia or Latin America. They put themselves in the life situations of these people, in order to see the world with their own eyes and to learn to act in solidarity."
"Let us imagine that such an exposure-program were established here in Germany. Experts from distance lands would sally forth to live a week with an average German family. They would be amazed here, e.g., by the standard of living, the order and the efficiency. But they would also be confronted also with much poverty through an unaccustomed glance: poverty, that touches on human relations, and poverty in the religious area."
Benedict XVI. has diagnosed an "overhang of structures projected against the Spirit: I will add: the actual crisis in the Church in the Western world is a crisis of Faith. If we don't find a real renewal of the Faith, any structural reforms will be ineffective."
Without naming the "dialog process" in the German Church, the Pope stressed the necessity to seek new ways for evangelization, where friendships are lived and also deepened in the regular common prayer before God. There are people, woh in our workplace and in the embrace of our family and circle of acquaintances who talk about these small experiences of the faith and form a new closeness to the Church in society. To them it is shown more clearly that all this nourishment and live permits, the concrete friendship together and with the Lord. The binding which takes place in the powerful current of the Eucharist remains important, because separated from Christ we can accomplish nothing [John 15,5]
Dear Brothers and Sisters, may the Lord enlighten us on our way, to be lights to the world together and show our fellow man the way to the source, where their deepest longing for life may be fulfilled."
Link to kath.net...