Friday, September 30, 2011

Pope Benedict's visit to Germany: Part 3 Some more reflection on questions raised in Part I

4 Virtual silence on the Erfurt Mass

The occasion was a  perfect example of how to celebrate  and adorn the Mass of our truly Holy Father, in accordance with the teaching by example and precept, that he has continually given during his pontificate. If you missed it, I do encourage you to watch it. Here is a link to kto. (Instructions on how to reach the right page are given here because the direct link doesn't work. I promise you that your efforts will be rewarded. Bad memories of the Mass in Berlin will be wiped away. You will not be distracted from prayer as you watch. Erfurt is at the geographical heart of Germany, and if this Mass is anything to go by, it is at its spiritual heart too. Thank God Pope Benedict will have this to remember from what will probably be his last visit to his native land.
(Instructions: a) When you reach kto click Programmes in left sidebar menu
b) click the first choice 'Programmes de la Semaine' c) click 'semaine precedente' along the top of screen choices. Then will come up the schedule for the week 19-25 September d) click 'SAM' i.e. Saturday
e) Scroll to 08.53 Voyage du Pape - Messe du Saint Pere a Erfurt  f) click the rectangular button with an arrow inside which appears to the right of the programme time and title.)

I have not seen any complimentary remarks about this Mass, which is a matter of great perplexity to me. Apart from anything else it showed that it is possible, when the will is there,  to have an outdoor Mass with huge numbers of people in attendance, without descending into the Woodstock/Glastonbury mode. The people of Erfurt knew their Cathedral Square was small, so they built vertically against the Cathedral's south external wall to accommodate their several excellent choirs. Also it was a stroke of genius to have the cathedral doors open, and apparently the sound of its majestic organ  being relayed outside, with the cameras giving intermittent shots of the cathedral interior. The impression was of a people clinging to their church with love, honour and thanksgiving. Far from being sidelined and forgotten, the ancient and holy building was made an integral part of the celebration. When the great medieval bell rang out at the end, it seemed to sing of Erfurt's, and indeed of the Holy Father's message to the world. 'He who hath ears to hear, let him hear.'

5 The many unbroadcast meetings

Below is a list of the meetings which kto did not televise according to their original schedule.
a) with the Jewish community
b) with the Moslem Community
c) the Ecumenical Celebration was televised, but not the meeting with the Ecumenical Council that preceded it.
d) the meeting with Orthodox
e) the meeting with Seminarians
f) the meeting with the Council of the Central Catholic Committee (not to be confused with the final meeting before departure with active Catholics.)

Also there was no reportage of the Pope's meeting with the German hierarchy, although such reportage was never advertised or promised.. The meeting with  French bishops in 2008 at Lourdes was televised, as was the meeting with the UK bishops at Oscott last year. Why were the German bishops spared this public exposure. Perhaps the Pope was going to say something very stern to them and it had to be kept private to spare their blushes, if indeed some of them have any blushes to spare. I will say that the Bishop of Berlin looked miserable on Thursday night, but was clearly visible at all the other liturgical events in Erfurt and Freiburg, joining in with the Latin bits and all that.......................

I can't remember the first meeting it was that kto had expected to televise, and then found that it could not, probably c) above. They did announce at the last minute that they would not be able to cover it because 'the cameras have not been invited'. After that they gave no reason and made no excuses for not sticking to their originally published schedule. Was it the Vatican that kept them out, or who was it? We will probably never know. Perhaps these events were considered too sensitive. It should also be noted that kto has always presented such meetings in full. In the UK the almost minute by minute live streaming was superb. Why was the German coverage so 'edited' ? Comparison with the UK experience made it stand out as very odd indeed. I am no conspiracy theorist, but it is hard to avoid the feeling that the coverage was 'censored'. Someone, or some group, was being protected, or protecting itself, and it certainly wasn't the Pope. The Vatican website has the texts of all his speeches at the meetings listed above, which I have not yet had time to read, but as far as I can see there is no clear record of what actually happened at these meetings..Not good.

To be continued in Part 4, DV tomorrrow.  I had hoped to get further than this today but persons from Porlock have punctuated the daylight hours and there are 5lbs of tomatoes on the kitchen table waiting to be dealt the morning. I hope to be back with you by tomorrow afternoon.

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