Pope looking forward to trip home to Germany
Berlin: Pope Benedict XVI says he is looking
forward to his upcoming trip to his homeland Germany, while
stressing that God, not "spectacle," is the focus.
The main aim of his visit, from Thursday to next Sunday,
will be to help "God to penetrate our field of vision," the
pope said late yesterday.
In a rare move, he made his comments on a German
television programme that has been running for over 50 years
in which a priest or pastor delivers a sermon.
Pope John Paul II appeared on the same religious show "Das
Wort zum Sonntag" (The Word on Sunday) on the ARD channel in
"I am already thrilled at the prospect" of the visit,
Benedict said at the start of his talk, which lasted just
under four minutes and was recorded at the Vatican.
A key part of his trip will be a meeting with
representatives of the German Protestant church in the
Augustine monastery at Erfurt, where Martin Luther "started on
his way," he added.
"We aren't expecting anything sensational. The important
thing will be to think together in that place, to listen to
the word of God and to pray," in the spirit of ecumenism.
It will be the third trip to Germany for Pope Benedict,
the first pontiff to visit the country for some 500 years.
He was keen to stress that the crowds and spectacle that
accompany such events are secondary.
"All this isn't about religious tourism and even less
about a spectacle," he insisted.
Instead, the theme for his visit will be "where God is,
the future is born."
"We must allow God to penetrate our field of vision," the
The papal visit is already mired in controversy, with a
number of theologians leading vocal criticism over the
Vatican's antiquated attitudes.
Benedict XVI will visit Berlin, Erfurt in the ex-German
Democratic Republic, and Freiburg.
The 84-year old pope will give 18 sermons and speeches
during his 21st trip abroad.
The Vatican has not ruled out the possibility that the
pontiff will meet with victims of clerical sexual abuse.