• Germany's news in English

Pope's exit saddens Bavarian hometown

The Local · 12 Feb 2013, 16:15

Published: 12 Feb 2013 16:15 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Caroline Neumayer, a resident of the tiny German town of Marktl am Inn, birthplace of Pope Benedict XVI, still fondly remembers the moment she met her hometown's most famous son.

"When he was in Marktl in 2006, he got out of his Popemobile and came up to me and my friends. He took us by the hand. It was a beautiful and meaningful moment," said the 18-year-old.

Neumayer said she thought the sudden announcement Monday that Benedict will resign later this month was a "carnival joke" as much of Germany swings into festive carnival mood in the run-up to the Christian period of Lent.

"I find it sad because he wasn't pope for very long," she said.

With tears rolling down her face, an older resident of the Bavarian town, Karin Frauendorfer, 60, said the resignation was "a bad thing in itself, but justified given his poor state of health".

"I think that what he did deserves a lot of respect," she added, noting that a potential successor might find the burden of the papacy easier to bear with Benedict still there to help him.

"I have of course been to see the Urbi et Orbi," she sobbed, referring to the papal address given in the Vatican.

The market town of Marktl am Inn, in the predominantly Catholic southern German state of Bavaria, has done well out of its most well-known former resident, born there in 1927.

In the first two years after Benedict became pope in 2005, some 200,000 people per year flocked to his birthplace, said mayor Hubert Gschwendtner, 64. The annual procession of visitors has since dropped to around 100,000 but Gschwendtner said he was not worried about the consequences of Benedict's resignation on his town.

"I don't think we won't have visitors any more," he said.

He too expressed "understanding" for the pope's decision although he said he was "surprised" as the last time he saw the pontiff, in June, he had given the impression of a very fit man.

"At the age of nearly 86, to be fit every day is an enormous burden," he said.

The local priest, Josef Kaiser, 62, said Benedict's elevation to the papacy had swollen his flock but "these were just visitors".

"For our own church community, the choice of pope did not change anything. People did not become more believing. Like everywhere else, we had a fall in numbers after the abuse scandal" that hit the Catholic Church in Germany and elsewhere. "We don't know what will happen now."

The priest said the town had been criticised for attempting to cash in on the image of the pope, selling pope beer and bread but he defended the actions of the community.

"There's absolutely nothing else in Marktl. Before the pope, there wasn't even a postcard of the place," he said.

"I don't drink pope beer, it tastes disgusting, really horrid. But I am pleased that I have in my church the only font that has baptised a German pope."

Story continues below…

And despite the sign advertising "Vatican bread" and papal cake, the local baker says it was a long time since he had made extra money from the pope's fame. Initial hopes of an economic boost from the pope have long since evaporated, he said.

But Germany's pride in having a compatriot as pope, once famously encapsulated in a tabloid headline "We are Pope", can still be found in this place, home to fewer than 3,000 people.

Maximilian Liedl, 59, professed himself "very surprised" by the news.

"My wife rang me and I could hardly believe it. But he will know why he did it. It's better that he resign than he talks rubbish. But I still find it sad," he said.

"The pope and I have the same belly button," he added proudly. "The same midwife tied our umbilical cords at birth."


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

17:55 February 12, 2013 by bwjijsdtd
I got the feeling they are going to miss the money he brought in more than anything else ...
18:03 February 12, 2013 by Englishted
Are the two nuns in the photo admiring the phallic symbol? .
20:27 February 12, 2013 by ovalle3.14
Holy phallic spaceships, Batman!
10:07 February 13, 2013 by wood artist
On a somewhat more refined note, can anyone identify that "item" next to the nuns in the picture? It appears to be some sort of sculpture, but beyond that I have no idea. I love public art, but this...at least from this angle, is just strange.

10:52 February 13, 2013 by Englishted
@ wood artist

Refinement,culture, you are trying to educate us on the sly admit it.
13:41 February 13, 2013 by ichbines
Hasta la vista BABY!!!
21:31 February 13, 2013 by wood artist

I may wallow in the slime from time to time, but I do try to avoid doing so publicly. I actually like almost all art, and I especially love public art. In the US nobody would think of doing anything remotely as interesting...largely for fear of offending somebody. I'm sure, for example, that those two huge guys "fighting" next to the Spree would be offensive, and I can't begin to imagine the outrage if the US had a bridge that played Rock-Scissors-Paper. The complains would be astounding..."It's clearly rigged so Paper never wins, especially on the Right side. It must be a Liberal artist."

I have no idea what this is supposed to be...if anything in particular. It appears to be ceramic, but it could be old, recycled missile nose-cones. Heck, I'm just curious if it's supposed to be or represent something in particular. But yes, because you asked, I did find the placement with the nuns...erm....interesting.

22:32 February 13, 2013 by crm114
22:50 February 13, 2013 by Englishted
@wood artist

Just popped up from the slime to agree ,sadly it is always the first cut during a austerity drive,lucky for us that there isn't one in Germany at the moment .So they tell me.
Today's headlines
Obama to visit Berlin in last presidential trip to Germany
President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel during a Berlin trip in 2013. Photo: DPA.

The White House announced on Tuesday that US President Barack Obama will be paying one last unexpected visit to the German capital - his last before he leaves office.

Hostility towards minorities 'widespread in Bavaria'
A village in southern Bavaria. Photo: DPA.

Hate and hostility towards groups deemed to be different are not just sentiments felt by fringe extremists, a new report on Bavaria shows.

Hated RB Leipzig emerge as shock challengers to Bayern
RB Leipzig. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig's remarkable unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season has seen them suddenly emerge at the head of the pack chasing reigning champions and league leaders Bayern Munich.

Munich taxi driver in hospital after attack by British tourists
Photo: DPA

A taxi driver had to be hospitalized in Munich on Monday evening after three British tourists refused to pay their fare and then attacked him.

German police carry out nationwide anti-terror raids
Police outside a building in Jena during raids on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Police forces in five German states carried out raids on Tuesday morning with the aim of tackling the financing of terror groups, police in Thuringia have reported.

The Local List
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Photo: DPA

So you've mastered German, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

Iconic German church being eroded away by human urine
Ulm Minster towering over the rest Ulm surrounding the Danube. Photo: Pixabay

It will now cost you €100 to spend a penny. That’s if you get caught choosing to pee against the world-famous Ulm Minster.

German small arms ammo exports grow ten-fold
Photo: DPA

The government has come in for criticism after new figures revealed that Germany exported ten times the quantity of small arms ammunition in the first half of 2016 as in the same period last year.

14-year-old stabs 'creepy clown' in prank gone wrong
File photo: DPA.

A 16-year-old in Berlin decided he wanted to scare some friends, but his plot backfired in a violent way.

Four Ku Klux Klan groups active in Germany, says govt
An American member of the KKK at a gathering in Georgia. Photo: EPA.

The German government estimates that there are four Ku Klux Klan (KKK) groups currently active in the country, according to a report by the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) on Tuesday.

Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd