By John-Henry Westen

MUNICH, September 11, 2006 ( – During the homily at a Mass celebrated in the Munich Fairgrounds yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI noted with concern that the Catholic Church in Germany is more likely to take up social justice projects than to spread faith in Christ. He explained that without Christian evangelization, important social justice work, including that with deadly diseases such as AIDS, will be fruitless, and even cause harm.

“The Catholic Church in Germany is outstanding for its social activities, for its readiness to help wherever help is needed,” he said. He went on to explain how bishops from developing countries are pleased with the assistance of German Catholics. However, he recalled African bishops saying, “If I come to Germany and present social projects, suddenly every door opens. But if I come with a plan for evangelization, I meet with reservations.”Â

The Pope interpreted the statement saying, “Clearly some people have the idea that social projects should be urgently undertaken, while anything dealing with God or even the Catholic faith is of limited and lesser importance.”

Rather, said the Pope, “evangelization itself should be foremost, that the God of Jesus Christ must be known, believed in and loved, and that hearts must be converted if progress is to be made on social issues and reconciliation is to begin, and if—for example—AIDS is to be combated by realistically facing its deeper causes and the sick are to be given the loving care they need.”Â

He summed up the point stating, “Social issues and the Gospel are inseparable.”
“Knowledge, ability, technical competence and tools” are apt to be turned to harm rather than good without Christian faith, the Pope suggested. Western Catholic “social justice” agencies, for example, have often been known to cooperate with programs and agencies promoting contraception, abortion andÂpopulation control as well as Marxist leaning, liberation theology political movements.

He warned that the West has a “form of rationality which totally excludes God from man’s vision” which is frightful to people in Africa and Asia especially since it is held “as if this were the highest form of reason, and one to be imposed on their cultures too.”

The Pope said the respect and fear of God must be “reborn” in the West.

In other statements that will spark interest, the Pope noted that contrary to some religions, Catholics do not impose the faith in Christ.“We impose this faith upon no one. Such proselytism is contrary to Christianity.” he said.“Faith can develop only in freedom. But we do appeal to the freedom of men and women to be open to God, to seek him, to hear his voice.”

Finally, contradicting theÂwestern liberal CatholicÂexcessive emphasis on“pluralism” the Pope said “We do not fail to show respect for other religions and cultures, profound respect for their faith, when we proclaim clearly and uncompromisingly the God who counters violence with his own suffering; who in the face of the power of evil exalts his mercy, in order that evil may be limited and overcome.”

“The world needs God. We need God. But what God?,” asked the Pope, answering, “Jesus, the Son of God incarnate . . . This is the God we need.”

See the full homily (in the original German):

See an English translation by Vatican Radio:

(with files from Gerald Augustinus )