Lifestyle & Belief

Man arrested before papal Mass in Germany

German police on Saturday arrested a man suspected of shooting a security guard with an air gun shortly before Pope Benedict XVI celebrated a Mass in the city of Erfurt, CBS News reports. 

Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi told CBS there was “no worry” for the papal entourage, and the pope was not told about the incident before the Mass, which he celebrated with around 30,000 people early on Saturday.

According to The New York Times, the air gun incident occurred on the edge of the security zone set up to protect the pope. A police spokesman, Eckhard Deutschmann, said that the suspect was a arrested in his apartment, from where the shots were fired.

CBS News reports that in his sermon, the pope asked whether the collapse of communism in East Germany 20 years ago had resulted in any increase in faith.

"Are not the deep roots of faith and Christian life to be sought in something very different from social freedom?"  the pope said. "It was actually amid the hardships of pressure from without that many committed Catholics remained faithful to Christ and to the church."

Security has been tight during the pope's four-day visit to Germany, the Times reports. On Thursday, large protests took place in Berlin, where the pope addressed parliament. CBS reports that German Catholics have been leaving the church by the thousands after revelations that hundreds of children have been abused by clergy and church employees over the years.

On Friday, the pope met with a group of sex abuse victims in his native country. In a statement, the Vatican said the pope was "moved and deeply shaken by the sufferings of the victims, the Holy Father expressed his deep compassion and regret over all that was done to them and their families."