Imaginative ‘Home-Made’ Posters from the Anti-Pope-Visit Berlin 22nd Septemeber 2011
More than 10,000 Berliners protested on a sunny early evening along the Under den Linden Boulevard while the Pope was saying mass across town at the Olympic stadium.
Protesters brought up a range of various controversial issues like, priest celibacy requirements, women [or lack thereof] in the church, gay rights, birth control and lastly but perhaps most importantly compensation for victims of sexual abuse by the German clergy.
While not addressed at this demonstration, or rally, was the underlying realization by modern Germans that historically the Vatican has over the last century always been on the wrong side of history.
While there were many brave Catholics -including some clergy – who opposed the Nazi’s, it is very clear that as far as the Vatican was concerned – the Nazis could do what they wanted in Germany as long as they could keep the communist/socialist hordes at bay.
The Vatican has always supported and been on the side of repressive and reactionary regimes or the status quo – as long as it could fight ‘communism’ or socialism – namely those wanting to change or challenge the economic order- the same economic order from which it benefits.
Thursday’s speech by the pope was his first before any legislative body and also the first by any pope before the German Bundestag.
Many MP’s of left Linke Party as well as some SDP/Social Democrats boycotted the Bundestag event. However the leaders of the Linke and the SPD, as well as newly elected SPD Berlin mayor Wowreit -an openly gay Catholic- remained.
Green Party MP Hans-Christian Ströbele, made his protest more visible – he stood up and then left as soon as the Pope began to speak – showing that the Greens can be as rude as anyone else!
It has been reported that circa 150,000 Catholics have left the church since the child abuse scandal became public and priesthood ‘vocations’ have dropped accordingly.
In fact most Germans think that the papal visit is – compared to the financial crisis and rising unemployment – relatively unimportant.
While Germans do not wish him any animosity or ill-will, they still would like to see more honesty and the Catholic church come to grips with its shady past and be upfront about its short comings – and they have not seen this happening.
With the present pope, former cardinal Ratzinger – and unlike his predecessor popes John-Paul II or John XXIII -an increasingly conservative Catholic church is unlikely to change its ways any time soon.
You can see a YOUTUBE video without comment from Potsdammer Platz before the demonstration began – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUE8eoaNQ90
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