• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

German Catholics bid farewell to their pope

The Local · 28 Feb 2013, 14:49

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.

Story continues below…

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
Man gets life in jail for murder of two young children
Silvio Schulz. Photo: DPA

A former security guard was handed a life sentence Tuesday for murdering two children, one of them a four-year-old Bosnian boy snatched from a crowded migrant registration centre last year.

Munich shooting
German Turks mourn Munich shooting victims
Flowers for the victims. Photo: DPA

Seven of the nine victims were Muslim.

Doctor killed in Berlin hospital shooting: police
Police at the scene in southern Berlin. Photo: DPA

A doctor has died after being shot at a Berlin hospital by an elderly man, Berlin police said on Twitter on Tuesday.

The Local List
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts

These hidden spots are steeped in shadows of their past and just begging to be explored...

Berlin refugee teen prepares to swim at the Olympics
Photo: DPA

Eighteen-year-old refugee Yusra Mardini has pulled a boat of 20 refugees from the middle of the Aegean to the Greek shore. Now she's preparing to swim at the Olympics.

Opinion
There still hasn’t been an Isis attack on Germany
The attack site in Ansbach. Photo: DPA

The last week has been brutal and shocking, but we need to stay calm and keep the events we have witnessed in perspective, argues Jörg Luyken.

How plainclothes cops caused panic at Munich shooting
Photo: DPA

Plainclothes officers can help in fight against gun attacks. But Munich showed that they can lead to confusion in efforts to track down the real attackers.

Immigration and integration Germany's 'biggest challenge'
Migrants queuing at a reception centre in Bavaria. Photo: DPA

Eighty-three percent of Germans see immigration as Germany's "biggest challenge" - that's twice as many as a year ago, and more than in any of the other countries surveyed.

Ansbach suicide attack
Sleepy Bavarian town left shocked by suicide attack
Ansbach. Photo: DPA

Residents of Ansbach were left reeling Monday after a Syrian suicide bomber blew himself up outside a music festival, shattering the sleepy calm of this picture-postcard southern German city.

Rapturous reception at Wagner fest's opening night
Bayreuther festival 2016, Parsifal. Photo: DPA

Germany's legendary Bayreuth opera festival, dedicated to the works of Richard Wagner, got off to a rapturous start on Monday with a brand new production of the composer's last opera, "Parsifal", enthusiastically received by the first-night audience.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
DPA
Gallery
IN PICTURES: How Munich responded to shooting spree
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
10,692
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd