Berlin's mayor Klaus Wowereit is looking forward to the pope's visit. The visit is "an important signal for the capital city. At the same time, he defended the planned protests. He would very much like to see a debate on the moral concepts of the Catholic Church, to which he himself belongs.
CBA: Mr. Wowereit, in September comes Pope Benedict XVI. to Berlin. What does this mean for the city and for you as a Catholic governing mayor?
Wowereit: First of all, of course, it is a state visit. The Pope is officially coming to Germany and will accordingly be received with all the intended honors. As head of the Catholic Church, the visit will of course have a very strong ecclesiastical character. There has already been discussion in recent weeks about the location of the service, which is now to be held at the Olympic Stadium. Of course, I myself am also pleased that the Pope is visiting Berlin. This is also an important signal for the capital.
CBA: Will you meet the Pope in person?
Wowereit: I ame. He will probably sign the Golden Book of the city. Where he will do so has not yet been determined and depends on the exact program schedule. Perhaps there will also be a temporal connection to the service in the Olympic stadium.
CBA: Pope's opponents plan various actions during the visit. How do you feel about this – after all, during the visit of Pope John Paul II. 1996 also colorier?
Wowereit: Berlin is a lively city, and protests like this are part of it. I'm sure the Catholic Church sees it that way too. It is important not to cross the line from peaceful protest to disturbance. Of course I hope that no paint will fly.
CBA: During the planned demonstrations, various lesbian and gay associations also want to draw attention to the Catholic Church's stance on homosexuality. How do you feel about this, also as the first top politician to publicly admit his homosexuality?
Wowereit: Everywhere, people are taking a critical look at the Catholic Church's stance on some socially important ies, such as how to deal with homosexuality or contraceptive ies. I think it's right to bring this up in Berlin and to discuss whether moral concepts such as those represented by the Catholic Church are still in keeping with the times. Perhaps such a debate will also take place in the run-up to the pope's visit. I, for one, would very much like to.
CBA: Expect that the Pope in Berlin will also comment on it?
Wowereit: He will have to decide for himself. I rather expect that it does not.
The interview was conducted by Birgit Wilke.