News / Europe

Pope Warns German Lawmakers Not to Abuse Power

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center left, and her government listen to Pope Benedict XVI, center, as he delivers his speech at the German parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Germany,  Sept. 22, 2011.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center left, and her government listen to Pope Benedict XVI, center, as he delivers his speech at the German parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, Sept. 22, 2011.

Pope Benedict has warned German lawmakers not to abuse power, referring to excesses in Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany as a lesson in history.

In a speech to the German parliament Thursday, at the start of his first state visit to his native country, the pope said Germans know from experience what happens when power is corrupted.  He described Nazis as a "highly organized band of robbers capable of threatening the whole world and driving it to the end of abyss."

Pope Benedict, who is German, also praised Nazi resistance movements for sticking to their beliefs at great risk.  He said those movements did a "great service to justice and to humanity as a whole."

The pope spoke amid protests outside the Reichstag parliament building in Berlin, and a boycott by about 100 lawmakers from opposition parties.

Earlier Thursday, at a formal welcoming ceremony at President Christian Wullf's Bellevue palace, the pontiff warned Germans of the danger of ignoring religion.  He also acknowledged the damage caused by the sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Roman Catholic Church.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Wullf greeted the Bavarian-born pontiff upon his arrival at Berlin's Tegel airport at the start of his four-day visit.  A few protestors carrying banners about sexism, homophobia and anti-Semitism gathered outside the airport.

In a meeting, the pope and Chancellor Merkel discussed the euro crisis and turmoil on the financial markets.

As many as 20,000 people were expected to demonstrate outside of parliament.  Those expected at the demonstration include gay and lesbian rights organizations and groups that want to see reform in the church -- on issues including divorce, ordination of women priests, abolishing celibacy for clergy, and support for victims of sexual abuse by priests.

Tens of thousands of Catholic faithful were expected to attend an open-air Mass at Berlin's Olympic Stadium Thursday night.  During his visit, the 84-year-old pontiff will also hold Mass in the cities of Erfurt and Freiburg.  

Germany's 50 million Christians are almost evenly divided between Protestants and Catholics, and many see the pope's visit as a chance to promote greater understanding between the two churches.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid