• Germany's news in English
 
German Catholics bid farewell to their pope
Photo: DPA

German Catholics bid farewell to their pope

Published: 28 Feb 2013 14:49 GMT+01:00

For many of the German faithful, Thursday was a sad day. As Bavarian-born Pope Benedict XVI prepared to steps down as head of the Catholic Church at 8pm, many seemed unwilling to accept that Germany would no longer direct ties to the papacy.

Thousands of Bavarian Catholics had flocked to Rome over the previous few days to say goodbye to their pontiff - even taking a traditional Bavarian brass band along to pay tribute to him, according to public broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

"We brought a banner with us that says, 'Bavaria is still the pope,'" Tobias Eichinger, a pilgrim from Nuremberg told the broadcaster - in reference to the “We Are Pope” headline in the Bild newspaper announcing the news of Joseph Ratzinger's appointment as pope in 2005.

"I mean, when you think that there are Catholics all over the world, and that the pope is from Bavaria?" said Eichinger's girlfriend Cornelia Engelhard.

Meanwhile, the German Catholic Church rallied behind Benedict XVI on his last day in office.

The pope would go down in history as a “theologian pope” and “one of the greatest preachers,” said Bishop of Regensburg Rudolf Voderholzer on Thursday afternoon.

Robert Zollitsch, head of the German Conference of Bishops, praised the pope for his “quiet goodbye.”

The pope has not left a farewell letter or given any hints as to who should replace him because “he in no way wants to influence his successor,” Zollitsch told ARD broadcaster on Thursday.

“That's his modest, reserved way,” he said.

Zollitsch said German bishops had not discussed individual names at their general assembly last weekend, and had concentrated instead on how the next pope would lead the global Church into the future.

On Thursday evening celebratory masses were planned to be held all over the country to mark end of Benedict's reign. Chancellor Angela Merkel was expected to be among those attending a central service in Berlin's St. Hedwig's Cathedral.

Prayers are to be held in Regensburg, Bamberg, Munich, Freising, Würzburg and at Benedict's birthplace in Marktl am Inn, Bavaria.

The pope was expected to leave the Vatican at 5pm and fly by helicopter to the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. In April, the ex-pontiff plans to move into Mater Ecclesiae monastery in the Vatican, which is currently being renovated.

He has said he will withdraw completely from public life and dedicate the rest of his life to prayer.

DAPD/The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

16:02 February 28, 2013 by heathen
bfd,,,all i ever wanted to know is: does the pope defecate in the woods?
16:51 February 28, 2013 by zeddriver
You'd think he IS GOD the way people are worshiping him. He should be admired for his service. I however think popes are put far to high on a pedestal. Which if one is a Christian is a rather dangerous thing. "according to the bible" You should worship GOD. Not the teacher.
17:28 February 28, 2013 by blackboot11
Good riddance !

as the seat of a religion not an actual country the vatican has NO place in the EU .
17:56 February 28, 2013 by mignargon
Yikes! Disgusting.
19:48 February 28, 2013 by M Australian
Is that golden robe covered in the blood of millions of AIDS victims from third world countries?

or is it the from the suicide of victims of child rape denied help & support & justice by his organisation?

or is it the high rate of suicide / murders of homosexuals ostracised by his organisation?
09:06 March 1, 2013 by Firmino
Disgusting. He should be in prison for his crimes.
13:13 March 1, 2013 by ichbines
You have to give him a little credit, he FINALLY did something smart!
13:41 March 1, 2013 by blackboot11
he quit before the news got out that he will be living with his long time boyfriend Georg Gänswein in their newly renovated 'monestary -

hideout' in vatican city...
Today's headlines
Ethics Council rejects assisted suicide law
Photo: DPA

Ethics Council rejects assisted suicide law

The German Ethics Council said the law should not be changed to permit assisted suicide in a paper published on Friday. READ  

Abandoned themepark needs 14m says Berlin
Swan Lake. An abandoned ride in the Spreewald pleasure park. Photo: DPA

Abandoned themepark needs 14m says Berlin

The iconic ruined themepark in the centre of Berlin - a long-time favourite of hipster adventurers - needs a clean-up costing at least 14 million euros, the Berlin government has revealed. READ  

Police nab Nuremberg station bomb hoaxer
File photo of Nuremberg main station: Shutterstock

Police nab Nuremberg station bomb hoaxer

Officers in Nuremberg arrested a man on Thursday evening after he called in a false bomb threat against the main train station READ  

Opinion
Angela, David...and Nigel
So near...and yet so far Photo: DPA

Angela, David...and Nigel

The rise of UKIP broke up what had been a good 2014 for Cameron and Merkel. READ  

'Dr Death' corpse museum gets go-ahead
Dr Gunther von Hagens. Photo: DPA

'Dr Death' corpse museum gets go-ahead

A Berlin court has said that infamous human taxidermist Gunther von Hagens can open a museum in the capital - over objections from local officials. READ  

Presented by Phorms Education
Phorms bilingual schools boast top-notch tech
Photo: Phorms Education

Phorms bilingual schools boast top-notch tech

As parents fret over children’s internet habits, a network of bilingual schools in Germany shows that putting computers in the classroom from an early age yields positive results. READ  

Networks scramble to patch mobile security
Chancellor Angela Merkel has herself been the victim of phone hacking. Photo: DPA

Networks scramble to patch mobile security

IT experts led by Berlin-based Karsten Nohl said on Thursday they had discovered security flaws in the mobile phone networks that would allow attackers to read users' messages. READ  

Turkish 'spies' arrested at Frankfurt airport
Photo: DPA

Turkish 'spies' arrested at Frankfurt airport

Three men suspected of being Turkish agents have been arrested by police, federal prosecutors said on Thursday. READ  

Tax take jumps 7.3 percent in November
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble is having an excellent month. Photo: DPA

Tax take jumps 7.3 percent in November

Germany collected 7.3 percent more in tax in November 2014 than the same month last year thanks to the strengthening economy, the Finance Ministry said in its monthly report on Thursday, while pollsters found rising consumer confidence. READ  

Ramelow bunks off his first Bundesrat sitting
Bodo Ramelow looking low on energy at a sitting of the Thuringia state parliament. Photo: DPA

Ramelow bunks off his first Bundesrat sitting

Controversial new Thuringia minister-president Bodo Ramelow of the Left (Linke) party missed his first session of Germany's second house of parliament, the Bundesrat, to go on holiday with his family. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Willy Brandt at his inauguration in 1972. Photo: DPA
National
Willy Brandt: the man, the chancellor... the airport?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Sponsored Article
Why are these International Baccalaureate students cheering?
Germany's national football team lifts the World Cup trophy
Gallery
Germany's most-Googled words of 2014
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Sponsored Article
Top ten gifts for an expat Christmas
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Stuff your face with these festive German cookies
Photo: DPA
Culture
What do beer, breakfast cereal and dildos have in common?
Culture
The Local's guide to German Christmas markets
Sponsored Article
Top five quirky Christmas jumpers
Photo: DPA
Culture
Get ready for Christmas like a German. We tell you how.
Photo: DPA
Munich
She did what with her dead mother?
Photo: DPA
National
Germany still paying for crisis fall out
Photo: DPA
Culture
Saxon wurst is the worst, Christmas market declares.
Photo: DPA
Politics
Can 'sorry' ever be enough for the Linke?
Sponsored Article
Shop Christmas gifts at Debenhams international store
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles through December 19th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
See how Berlin has changed in 22 photos
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,185
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd