• Germany's news in English
 

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
EU investigates Germany over airport security
Photo: DPA

EU investigates Germany over airport security

The European Commission said on Thursday that it had referred Germany to the EU Court of Justice for failing to regularly check up on its airport security measures at some airports. READ  

Germans want to keep their hands on cash
Germans still trust cash over other forms of payment. Photo: DPA

Germans want to keep their hands on cash

Confirming conservative stereotypes, Germans have come out strongly in favour of sticking to hard cash in conducting transactions, a survey published on Thursday showed. READ  

This week in history
Fassbinder: New German Film's Enfant Terrible
Rainer Fassbinder on set in 1977. Photo: DPA

Fassbinder: New German Film's Enfant Terrible

On Sunday May 31st, Rainer Weiner Fassbinder, one of the most influential German film directors, would have turned 70 - had it not been for his death at the age of 37 in 1982. The Local takes a look back at the life and work of the enfant terrible of New German Cinema. READ  

Cool caps reduce hair loss during chemo
Photo: DPA

Cool caps reduce hair loss during chemo

German scientists are trialling a special scalp-cooling cap which helps reduce hair loss for cancer patients going through chemotherapy. READ  

Industry: 'doped' growth boosting economy
A man assembling food processors in a Wuppertal factory. Photo: DPA

Industry: 'doped' growth boosting economy

The German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) warned on Thursday that a fresh burst of economic confidence might be unfounded, even as they raised their growth projections for 2015. READ  

Slow-moving fighter jet blocks Autobahn traffic
A Eurofighter jet stopped up traffic on Thursday because it was so wide. Photo: DPA.

Slow-moving fighter jet blocks Autobahn traffic

A damaged Eurofighter plane being pulled by a truck along the autobahn was so wide that it blocked three lanes of traffic on its way to being repaired in Bavaria on Thursday, drawing the ire of fellow drivers. READ  

Right-wing leader suffers restaurant attack
AfD co-leader Frauke Petry. Photo: DPA

Right-wing leader suffers restaurant attack

Frauke Petry, co-leader of Alternative for Germany (AfD), was attacked by masked assailants while eating in a restaurant on Wednesday evening. READ  

Court rejects case against US drone strikes
An American MQ-9 "Reaper" unmanned drone. Photo: U.S. Air Force/Paul Ridgeway/dpa

Court rejects case against US drone strikes

A German court on Wednesday rejected a complaint by three Yemenis demanding that Berlin bar Washington from using a US base on its territory to operate deadly drones. READ  

Gay marriage: Germany still says 'No'
A gay couple in Stuttgart. Photo: DPA.

Gay marriage: Germany still says 'No'

Germany's cabinet on Wednesday approved a raft of draft measures to extend the rights of same-sex couples, but faced criticism for allowing only civil unions, not full gay marriage. READ  

Spectre of Greece haunts G7 Dresden meeting
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble welcomes his G7 colleagues to Dresden. Photo: DPA

Spectre of Greece haunts G7 Dresden meeting

Finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of Seven wealthiest nations gathered in Dresden Thursday to discuss the global economy and tax evasion, but the Greek crisis was also high on everyone's minds. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Why the train strike is bad for passengers and workers
National
Meet Germany's Eurovision hope
Business & Money
Is 2015 a new moment for jobsharing?
Features
How the LGBT rights movement was born in Germany
National
Why you don't make bomb jokes at the airport
National
Why Germany needs a little less tipple
National
Who Germans and Americans trust... and don't
Politics
What the UK election means for Germany
National
Why Germany is great for mums
Features
The Germans with GI dads
Five ways Germany falls short on gay rights
Travel
Giant tortoise found riding Munich rail
National
FCK CPS? A-OK with court
Politics
Opinion: Brexit's dangers for Germany
Features
Smart kids all want to work for BMW
National
Minister shows off top Denglisch
National
Germany's 'other genocide' in Africa
National
Arms firms get a 'must do better' mark on ethics
Sport
Bayern's anticlimactic 25th Bundesliga win
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
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

6,698
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd