“We have lost our faith in politics, but not in the church.”
That is the battle cry of four German dairy farmers. Dairy farmers in Germany and Europe in general have been going through a very rough time as the price of milk has plummeted. They have appealed to a bevy politicians for aid in their time of need, but none has been forthcoming. So now four dairy farmers in Germany have decided to take their appeal for aid in their plight to a higher power. The Pope.
So now these four farmers, only two of whom are Catholic, are making a pilgrimage to Rome – via tractor.
The quartet heading for Rome belong to the German Federal Association of Dairy Farmers (BDM) and they all went to Brussels in May to take part in protests organized by European dairy farmers calling for the European Union milk quotas to be lowered.
The convoy of two tractors and a VW bus is traveling under the motto: “We have lost our faith in politics, but not in the church.” Although two of the group are not even Catholic that hasn’t deterred them from hoping the pope will grant them a brief audience. “The pope is there for everyone,” De Vries, who came with the idea of the pilgrimage, told the Neumarkter Nachrichten on Sunday. De Vries said he didn’t want to give up his protests without trying everything to ensure the agrarian future for his three sons, who work on the farm with him. A Lutheran pastor from the town of Bützow, Karl-Martin Schabow, has even provided the men with a letter of petition to hand over to the pontiff.
Another of the pilgrims, the 38-year-old Kobow, may be a Catholic but, as he told Bild newspaper on Tuesday, “I only go to church for christenings, weddings and funerals.” Nevertheless, he has faith in the 1,800 kilometer trip to Rome. “We wanted to do something new, a change from the usual demonstrations. We hope that society and politicians will finally wake up.”
So far the men have made good progress, traveling around 250 kilometers a day, and they aim to reach the Vatican by Friday morning. Before he left his 500 dairy cows back home in the village of Dadow bei Ludwigslust, De Vries told local newspaper theSchweriner Volkszeitung that he may have lost his faith in politics but not in the “up high above.” He said he was sure that the pope would give them at least three minutes of his time, “because we are travelling by tractor from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean.”
I could make a point about how this story speaks volumes on how that in even a secular Europe, the Church and the Papacy have the power to unite in a crisis, but I won’t. Rather I think I will point out that this story has a dateline of July 21. So the farmers should have reached Rome by now. I wonder who got the unenviable task of telling the farmers that the Pope isn’t there?