Benedict’s Legacy


Der Spiegel considers it:

When he was newly elected, the German media spoke of a "Benedict effect," of how having a German pope would positively influence conversion and retention rates in Germany. But, if it ever really existed, this effect quickly dissipated. Since Benedict's election in 2005, the number of people leaving the Catholic Church in Germany has more than doubled, and it's been the highest most recently in Ratzinger's former Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. Only 30 percent of Germans are still Catholic today.

The claim, often made by enthusiastic Catholics on German talk shows — that all of this is a German or European problem and nothing but sour grapes, and that the Church is more successful elsewhere — isn't even true in deeply Catholic Latin America, where the number of Catholics has been sharply declining. Evangelical Christians, on the other hand, are multiplying there like the loaves and fishes in Canaan.

(Photo: Pope Benedict XVI looks on following a meeting with the Sri Lankan President at the Vatican on June 8, 2012. By Max Rossi/AFP/GettyImages.)