Berlin, Germany, Sep 22, 2011 / 08:31 am
Pope Benedict XVI has arrived in Germany at the beginning of a four-day state visit. At the official welcoming ceremony he told crowds that he had come back to his homeland “to meet people and to speak about God.”
“I was born in Germany. Such roots cannot be severed, nor should they be,” the Pope told reporters on his flight from Rome to Berlin’s Tegel Airport, where he was greeted by German President Christian Wulff and Chancellor Angela Merkel.
He said aboard the plane that he was relaxed about those who are protesting against his visit because “that is normal in a free society.”
The Pope also fielded questions from the media on the issue of clerical abuse, suggesting that he understood why some victims may be tempted to say “this is not my church anymore.” But he explained that Church is an institution which catches both “good and bad fish.”
After being greeted at the airport, Pope Benedict was escorted to the German president’s residence at Berlin’s Bellevue Palace, where he was officially welcomed by President Wulff.