FOREIGN tourists requesting visas to visit Germany for the Pope’s first pilgrimage abroad are being asked searching questions about their knowledge of Christianity.
The measure by Germany is designed to prevent a wave of illegal immigration, especially from the Balkans.
More than a million young believers are expected to attend the World Youth Conference in Cologne in August, when Pope Benedict XVI will make his first papal trip.
Germans are concerned that the religious festival will be exploited by people because of their country’s fast-lane visa regulations.
The career of Joschka Fischer, the Foreign Minister, was damaged this year after he was questioned on television for 12 hours over visa rules that allowed an influx of illegal Albanian and Ukrainian immigrants, many of whom were said to have become involved in drugs and prostitution.
German embassies abroad have therefore concocted a scored questionnaire to sort out the true pilgrims from the would-be criminals.
The questions begin harmlessly enough. “Who were the first people?” and “How and when did Jesus die?” The seven deadly sins, judging by a straw poll conducted by The Times among young Germans in Berlin, are generally known, though often for the wrong reason. “I know them because of the film Seven with Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow,” a 26-year-old woman said.
For infrequent churchgoers, naming the sacraments proved more difficult, and a question asking about the types of sin baffled many. Describing God’s activity (or rather lack of it) on the seventh day of creation was regarded as a little too tricky.[Source]
And if you don’t know the answer I wonder if you can just claim you went to a Catholic school during the seventies and beyond, surely they would understand. Though in this circumstance they could ask them a follow up question like how do you make a felt banner to verify that they are telling the truth.
… and if they thought that ‘scapular’ was some sort of medical terminology, that oughtta clinch it.
Ha! The felt banner test…
Maybe if they carry an opinion whatsoever about Abortion or Birth Control that should certify them as Catholic. If there is emotion in the answer (anger one way or the other) then they’re probably Catholic (or belong to a Faith Community). Both types should be allowed into WYD to hear from Benedict.
I would think if they could rattle off the act of contrition, one Hail Mary, and the prayer to Sr. Michael, you’ve got a winner!!!
(also, as a side note, a church banner could be made out of felt and or, colored burlap. Now those were some gnarly banners)
The German civil government is doing more to advance the cause of Catholic religious education than anyone since Archbishop Sheen. Maybe we’ll get standardized tests out of this!
Wow, you guys had COLORED burlap?
…why yes we did!!! and we got to use sequins too!
Since it is World YOUTH day surely they realize that no youth who has been in a Catholic school will know the answers to thier questions.
Now, if they tested their knowlege of buddhism….
I’m going to WYD, but, unlike the Germans, it’s the 7 deadly sins that I have trouble with.
The rest is easy.
But Bec, I think the youth would be divided between those who are involved and know (or are keen on learning) their faith, and those who are really ignorant (and basically secular). I know in our diocese a significant number of the catechists are youth of the WYD age (a significant number because they’re not parents).
Admittedly, I can see that some of the youth I know who are interested in knowing their faith might have trouble with some of the questions. Somehow people always forget confession.
Can you show me the canon prohibiting felt banners?
The prayer to Sister Michael? I know of one to Saint Michael, but not one to Sister Michael. 😛
Back around 1993, I met with my daughter’s third grade teacher, a certain Sister L. SSSF. Sister L. was one of those post Vatican II liberated nuns who rigorously adhered to the uniform of a bad perm and worse polyester clothing styled from a 1950s Sears catalogue. She treated her little third graders with disdain and hostility for imposing their presence upon the world.
As we spoke, I asked her about the material that she was using in teaching religion as this Catholic school was particularly sensitive to parents seeing any religious texts when the children brought home their school work. After she generalized a bit, I asked if she taught the children specifics like the Ten Commandments.
All of a sudden, Sister became very animated and angry. “What’s to the Ten Commandments!?”, she shot at me. “It’s simply ten numbers: one two three four five six seven eight nine ten!!”
“No, I don’t teach them that! I teach them about Love!”
She then volunteered a story about a little boy in a past year who asked her about Purgatory. “He said, Sister, can you tell me about Poogatory?”
“Poogatory!” she laughed derisively. “He wanted to know about Poogatory. I told him there is no Poogatory!”
Several years later, the women’s religious order that had operated the school since 1904 (not the SSSF’s) pulled out due to their falling numbers and increasing age and left the convent for the parish as a lay-operated pre-school.
But my daughter and I will always remember what a great Catholic education she received from the type of nuns who think that Rosemary Reuther is a theologian rather than a seat warmer.
I didn’t expect the German Inquisition!
Are you sure this is not a hoax?
Are they going to use this to exclude Moslems who answer that Jesus did not die on the cross?
Will: ha, ha, ha! That would be: Zee German Inquvisition!
(I’m doing my best to cop a German accent here)
It’d be great if the Source link worked; would like to share this story with friends. Thanks!
The “felt banner” thing is Curt Jester genius, another belly-laugh (which, with my belly, requires a considerable input of funny prose to execute).
I’d like to put in a good word for some Sisters, though, who taught in Catholic schools during those 70’s years. Where my daughter went to school in Pittsburgh, some of those Vincentian Sisters of Charity were so much finer than their counterparts in the public schools, and got no fancy salaries and no public recognition. I see their good work as often as I see my daughter.