Rome, Italy, Feb 12, 2013 / 13:04 pm
A German journalist and acquaintance of Pope Benedict XVI says atheists in their native country are more respectful of him after realizing their perception of the pontiff was wrong.
"The atheists are very respectful now of him because they had a completely invalid image of him clinging to his power, although it meant nothing to him," said Paul Badde, Die Welt's Vatican correspondent since Feb. 2002.
"They saw him as harsh, as the German shepherd clinging to his throne," he said.
But Badde, who met Pope Benedict personally in the early 1980s in theological debates and close inner circles, also said many Germans did not take full advantage of his efforts to help change their society.