Pope’s German trip important, spokesman says


ROME (JTA) — Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to his native Germany afforded the opportunity to reflect on the lessons drawn from the Nazi regime and the Holocaust, the chief Vatican spokesman said.

The pope’s four-day trip ended Sunday.  

"One cannot pass through Berlin without feeling the weight of the darkest page in the history of Germany and Europe in the last century: the madness for power and murder that marked the Nazi era," the Rev. Federico Lombardo, the director of the Vatican press office, said on Vatican Television.

Lombardo said it had been important for the 84-year-old pope, in an address to the German Parliament, to describe the Nazi regime as a "highly organized band of robbers, capable of threatening the whole world and driving it to the edge of the abyss."

It was important, too, for the pope to meet with a delegation of German Jews, which had included Holocaust survivors, Lombardo said.

"The light of those martyred by Nazism shines through the darkness of those times and continues to inspire the building of the future," he said.

In Benedict’s first state visit back to his native country since his election as pope in 2005, thousands of people marched in Berlin protesting Vatican policy on clerical celibacy, contraception, homosexuality and the role of women, and carrying signs reading "Pope Go Home." Seventy German lawmakers boycotted his speech to Parliament.

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