The National Catholic Reporter has them:
It probably says something about the low-key nature of a papal trip when its biggest news flash involves the shooting off of an air gun – not even a real gun, mind you – two hours before the pontiff’s arrival, in the vague direction of two security agents stationed in the central square of Erfurt in advance of an open-air Mass.
The thirty-year-old who fired the air gun was quickly apprehended, and nobody who attended the Mass was even aware there had been a brief security scare. Nonetheless, media outlets jumped on the story, largely because the Sept. 22-25 trip itself did not generate the sort of immediate political excitment that drives talk shows and news pages.
Benedict XVI warned Germans in advance not to expect a “spectacle” or “sensations” from his third homecoming but first official state visit, and the four-day swing seemed to deliver on those expectations.
For the most part, the pontiff steered clear of commentary that could have been given a political spin, such as reflections on Germany’s role in Europe, which is a matter of controversy these days given the continent’s fiscal crisis and perceptions of German unwillingness to bail out weaker economies, or the hot-button cultural issues that swirl around the Catholic church, such as abortion, gay rights, and the family.
Benedict did draw protestors, including an opposition demonstration in Berlin estimated at some 9,000 people, but for the most part his message didn’t give them much to work with.
Instead, Benedict focused on what German theologians call the Gottesfrage, or the “question of God.” His basic argument was that beneath the pressing issues of the moment lies a deeper question: Is there space for God, for a reality beyond self-interest and the human will to power, in the ultra-secular cultural milieu of the 21st century?
Only by replying “yes”, Benedict implied, will the other problems of the day become soluble.
Beyond that core point, there were three nuggets worth lifting up from the trip’s record…
Ecumenism and Christian Geography
Small Christian Communities
Read more on these here.