A group of German protesters plan to yell and make other noise outside the Pope’s bedroom on this weekend when he visits Berlin.
Pope Benedict XVI will be flying into the German capital for a four-day visit starting Thursday. Thousands of Catholic faithful are streaming into the city to attend a papal mass expected to draw 70,000.
However, the leader of the German parliament’s opposition party defended plans to boycott the pope’s speech to the Bundestag on the first day of his four-day visit — along with 100 other deputies.
“The fact that there are a few who will not be in the Bundestag by reason of their fundamental view about religion should not prompt us to speak of a lack of respect,” Frank-Walter Steinmeier, caucus leader of the Social Democrats told the Deutsche Presse-Argentur newspaper. “We should respect other views.”
Rainer Bruederle, caucus leader of the Free Democrats, a pro-government party, disagreed.
“The pope is speaking. I’m going because it’s right,” said Bruederle, who is a Lutheran.
Meanwhile a capacity crowd of 70,000 is expected at the Olympic Stadium, Berlin’s main sports venue. “It’s absolutely booked out,” said Stafan Foerner, spokesman for the Berlin archdiocese.
He said he was not worried that protesters have announced they plan to shout and make a noise all night near the apostolic nunciature, the Vatican embassy, where Benedict will stay.
“The holy father will be so tired from his busy schedule that he is bound to sleep soundly,” Foerner said.