my venerable predecessor in office, Bishop Wilhelm Schraml, has done a great deal to ensure that the birthplace of our retired Pope Benedict XVI. is of prominent importance in our diocese of Passau. I am very grateful to him for that. I am convinced that the life and work of Joseph Ratzinger / Pope em. Benedict XVI. will remain of lasting importance for the church – here with us as well as worldwide. And I think this meaning will be discovered deeper in the future.
We all know and see that our church is going through difficult times - and very many of us suspect that a genuine renewal of the church will only ever succeed if we return to its origins. I do not mean a backward-looking Christianity, but a way down that opens the way forwards and enables us again and again to get involved in the questions and challenges of the time. Or to put it another way: Those who are deeply rooted in their own minds can go far.
The lifetime concern of Joseph Ratzinger / Pope em. Benedict XVI. was to free our beliefs from it's incrustations and to reveal them in their original beauty and healing and liberating power. The encounter with him, with his life, his theological thinking, his spiritual practice, his ability to interpret scripture and to point to the signs of the times, all this remains a treasure of the church, which always can and must be raised anew.
May his birthplace, in its simple beauty, in the experience of art, in the look at life and work of Joseph Ratzinger, provide access to this life's work - in such a way that everything becomes transparent at least in two directions: the encounter with the risen Christ and the visitor's encounter with himself in the light of the risen one.
A blessed time in the Birthplace of Pope Benedict XVI wishes you
Bishop Stefan Oster SDB