No fear of protests

The Archdiocese of Berlin says it favors Charlottenburg Palace as the site for Pope Benedict XVI's service. on 22. September. Planning is not yet complete, diocesan administrator Auxiliary Bishop Matthias Heinrich said in the capital Friday. Catholic Church cool to possible protests against pope's visit.

The castle area offers 10.000 to 40.000 people place. It still needs to be clarified exactly how great the demand is and whether the necessary security measures at Charlottenburg Palace can be implemented, Heinrich added. In the discussion was so far also the olympia stadium with a catch fortune for 74.000 people.

The visit of Pope Benedict XVI. September will be the first of the Catholic Church leader in 15 years. In addition to Berlin, the pope plans to visit the diocese of Erfurt and the archdiocese of Freiburg. According to Heinrich, the largest religious service will be held in Freiburg; in Berlin, the political program will predominate.

Pope to address members of German parliament
German President Christian Wulff will welcome the Pope upon his arrival at Bellevue Palace. In addition, the Pope will give a speech to members of the Bundestag. The exact timing has not yet been determined, Heinrich said.

Prelate Ronald Rother added that a meeting of the Pope with the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit (SPD), and an entry in the Golden Book of the city are also planned. In addition, according to archdiocesan spokesman Stefan Forner, the pope also wants to meet representatives of the Jewish and Islamic faiths.

The Pope will be welcomed on his trip to Germany from 22. to 25. September to carry the Popemobile. The head of the church uses the vehicle equipped with bulletproof glass at public appearances. Which routes the Pope will take in Berlin with his Papamobile is still unclear, said Rother. In Berlin, however, the pope will not drive a long distance in a protected vehicle.

Pope will stay at the Apostolic Nunciature
During his one-day stay in Berlin, the pope is to stay at the Apostolic Nunciature on Lilienthalstrasse in Neukolln, bordering Kreuzberg. The pope will not hide from possible protests, Heinrich said. "The pope has always strengthened people's faith on his previous trips and has often surprised his critics."

During the Pope's visit to Berlin, a broad alliance of social groups is planning, among other things, a large demonstration for sexual co-determination. The Berlin-Brandenburg Lesbian and Gay Association is coordinating the protest against the Pope's visit.

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