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Pope admonishes bishops on 'designer religion' in Germany
    Pope John Paul II has written a personal letter to all of the cardinals of Germany, warning them in unusually blunt language about the condition of the Catholic Church in their country.
    The Pope's letter, addressed to all nine German cardinals, was dated 22 February. Because it was private, however, the letter did not become public knowledge until Monday, when newspapers in Bonn broke the story.
    In his letter, the Pope asks the German cardinals to take prompt action to curb improper developments within the Catholic Church in Germany. He points to problems particularly in the domains of ecumenical affairs, theological speculation, and the involvement of the laity in public ministry.
    "We cannot shut our eyes to the fact that more and more people are abandoning the active practice of the faith, or accepting only a portion of the Gospel and the teaching of the Church," the Holy Father writes.
CRTN reports that an increasing number of Germans are no longer inspired by the mainstream Churches and make their own homemade religions, using elements of local and foreign spiritual traditions.
    This was the conclusion of theological experts and representatives of various German, Austrian and Swiss Catholic dioceses, gathered in the city of Aachen earlier this month.
    In contemporary German society, the effectiveness of a religion to solve life's problems is essential, according Harald Baer of the German Bishops' Social-ethical Workgroup (Hamm). When confronted with the difficulties of life, Germans look for an "instant cure", "surfing" and choosing elements from Christian, Far Eastern and esoteric religions.
    However, this constant "shopping" for religious beliefs and attendance of various seminars, workshops and religious events, is not without danger, Baer noted. In their quest for spiritual truth and human companionship in an anonymous society, many people are faced with disappointments, which leave deep scars in their psyche.