"Berlin is surely a large missionary area," Regensburg Bishop Gerhard Ludwig said, citing "anti-Church attitudes" that stem from the city's connection to "ideological groups associated with the communist era."
Ludwig also criticized the Berlin's decision not to require religion courses in public schools, requiring instead an ethics course. This is a clear move away from religious freedom and therefore against constitutional law, he said.
It would be "really good" if the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 2009 could be used on the occasion of the pope's visit to explain "what the Catholic Church is and what it means for the world," he said.
The pope, German-born Joseph Ratzinger, is not just a German pope, but "a pope for the whole Church," Ludwig said. But he has already made two visits to his homeland, and other countries await a visit too, which means any other visits would have to be approved in Rome, Ludwig said.