Wednesday, September 30, 2009

German press: Atheist Czechs impressed by Pope Benedict XVI
30 September 2009 - Berlin,

Pope Benedict XVI has won great respect in the atheist Czech Republic, the German daily Die Welt wrote Tuesday commenting on the Pope's visit to the country on September 26-28.

Public Czech Television's (CT) cameras followed almost every move by Benedict XVI during his three-day visit to the Czech Republic, the daily says.

The Pope managed to raise enthusiasm among young people and he even won respect of Czech President Vaclav Klaus, Die Welt wrote.

"Judging by the space provided by Czech Television to the coverage of Benedict XVI's visit it could seem that the Pope visited a bastion of Catholicism in the past three days," Die Welt says.
"The head of the Catholic Church did not take any step in public without being broadcast live by CT. This was accompanied by debates with experts who tried to explain the Pope's masses and speeches," the Prague correspondent of Die Welt wrote.

However, the Pope paid his pastoral visit to one of the most secular countries in the world, it adds.

The paper points out that the Pope used his visit mainly to remember the fall of communism 20 years ago.

The Pope called on Czechs to rediscover Christian traditions which had formed their culture on the background of the religious freedom they have achieved, the daily says.

However, Benedict XVI did not only point to regained freedom but he also raised the question of what freedom actually means and said the fight for freedom should be connected with the search for truth.

"Even such purely liberal politician as Klaus could not deny respect to the Pope and he even admitted that he shares certain values with Benedict XVI," Die Welt wrote.

On the fringes of the visit, representatives of the state and the Church even expressed mutually accommodating positions in practical questions, which "people around Benedict XVI registered with a great satisfaction," the daily wrote.

The server says the Pope's visit to the Czech Republic was also a visit to the past, back to his predecessor John Paul II.

"Because Prague was the first city of the former eastern block the Polish Pope visited after the fall of the Iron Curtain. For Benedict XVI it was an opportunity to again point to the Czech Republic's position at the crossroads of world history," the server says.

Czech News Agency

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