.- Pope Benedict XVI will continue with plans to address the German parliament next week,Â despite the threat of a boycott by dozens of legislators.
âIt would please us if the speech were to be received by the whole assembly,â said Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., adding that âif instead others disagree, it is not something that concerns us. The Pope will speak to those present.â
Fr. LombardiâsÂ Sept. 16 comments came during a briefing ahead of Pope Benedictâs visit to Germany, Sept. 22-25.Â
In recent weeks the German media has reported that dozens of left-wing parliament members are planning to boycott or walkout of the Popeâs address to Berlinâs parliamentâcalled the Bundestagâover claims the papal address will violate a separation of church and state.
Fr. Lombardi said such threats are an âinternal German political affairâ and that âif someone has objections it doesn't depend on us or the Pope.â He also observed that since the Pope was invited to address the parliament, the threat of a boycott doesÂ ânot seem to me like a polite and friendly attitude.â
Papal addresses to parliaments are uncommon. Pope Benedict has never addressed a parliamentary gathering since being elected pontiff in 2005. Prior to that, Pope John Paul II only addressed two parliaments â those of Italy and Poland â during his 27-year reign.
Pope Benedictâs four-day visit to Germany will consists of stops in Berlin, Erfurt and Freiburg. In each city he will preside over large public Masses. The Pope is also holding meeting with leaders of the Jewish, Muslim and Orthodox Christian faiths.
Next week will be the first state visit by the Pope to his homeland. He has visited two times since being elected Pope in 2005, but both occasions were in a pastoral capacity.Â The motto of the visit is âwherever God is, there is the future.â