REGENSBURG, Germany – Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday called for harmony in his diverse and sometimes fractious church, saying that -- like a church organ -- it needed to remain in tune.
Benedict made his remarks as he blessed the new organ at Regensburg's Alte Kapelle, or Old Chapel, during his visit to his native Germany. He made a comparison to the church, saying that "if organ pipes are out of tune, dissonance ensues and the result is unbearable."
"Now this is an image of our community in the church," he said, standing before the altar and amid the chapel's gilded and white rococo decoration.
"Just as in an organ, an expert hand must constantly bring disharmony back to consonance so we in the Church, in the variety of our gifts and charismas, always need to find anew, through our communion in faith, harmony in the praise of God and in fraternal love," said Benedict, a skilled pianist who loves Mozart.
While serving as the Vatican's top doctrinal official, Benedict -- then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger -- clashed with liberal theologians who questioned traditional church teachings.
Since becoming pope, he has sought to avoid confrontations within the church and met with one of his bitterest foes, Swiss theologian Hans Kueng.
Benedict was treated to a rendition by church organist Norbert Duechtel of Bach's familiar Toccata and Fugue in D-minor. The organ, valued at roughly euro730,000 (US$927,000), was made by Swiss firm Mathis Orgelbau AG and financed by the Peter Kaiser Foundation of Vaduz, Liechtenstein.
Benedict is making a six-day homecoming tour of his native Bavaria, where he served as archbishop in the regional capital, Munich, from 1977 to 1982. His stop in Regensburg gives him a chance to visit the university where he once taught theology and see his brother, Rev. Georg Ratzinger, retired choir director at the city's cathedral.
His chief themes during the trip have been the need for faith and reason to work together, and for an increasingly secular Europe to return to its historic Christian faith.
Later Wednesday, he was to visit the graves of his parents, Josef and Maria Ratzinger, and of his sister, Maria.