Pope in Germany greeted by protests


Protests are expected during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to German, Sept. 22-25. In Berlin Germany on Sept. 20, on the facade of the Axel Springer Verlag headquarters, workers unfurl a giant reproduction of the front page of tabloid Bild Zeitung the day after German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was appointed Pope Benedict XVI.


Sean Gallup

Pope Benedict started his four-day visit to his homeland, Germany, Thursday, and was greeted by protesters angry over his views on sexuality and cases of child abuse by priests.

Protesters gathered in Berlin ahead of the pope's speech to the Bundestag lower house of parliament and mass at the Olympic Stadium, Reuters reports.

Gay and lesbians opposed to the pope's view on homosexuality and contraception came to Berlin's Potsdamer Platz to demonstrate.

"Why has he been invited to parliament? He has nothing to do with politics. His policies on condoms are as good as murder," Markus Schuke told Reuters.

"This is impossibly arrogant, it shows he is not of this world," another demonstrator, Birk Friedrich, said. "It was the Church and this pope who allowed all of the abuse to be swept under the carpet."

The pope is on his third papal tour of Germany.

The Associated Press reports that the trip is an effort by the pope to stem the tide of Catholics leaving the church and also to acknowledge the damage caused by the child abuse scandal.

Speaking to parliament, he urged Germans not to ignore religion and warned against the ability of power to corrupt.

"We Germans know from our own experience" what happens when power is corrupted, he said. The pope described Nazis as a "highly organized band of robbers, capable of threatening the whole world and driving it to the edge of the abyss."

GlobalPost's Sumi Somaskanda explains why the pope is so unpopular in his hometown.

"He has waited more than a year after a series of church sex-abuse scandals broke in Germany to come home and address them. That has been a major sore spot," Somaskanda writes.

Read more here.