BERLIN // "Pope Benedict XVI arrived in his home country yesterday for a visit rich on pomp and ceremony but overshadowed by his rigid conservatism, his handling of a child-abuse scandal and his rehabilitation of a controversial British bishop.
Germany has fallen out of love with Benedict in the six years since he was elected in April 2005 as the first German pope in almost 500 years. ...
It is his third visit to Germany as pope, and will be his most difficult because it has stirred controversy about the direction of the Catholic Church that critics say has grown more inward-looking and removed from the realities of the modern world under his leadership.
Some 100 MPs from the opposition Social Democrats, Greens and Left parties boycotted his speech to the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, and some 15,000 people demonstrated in Berlin against what organisers called his "inhuman gender and sexual policy", a reference to the Catholic Church's refusal to allow women priests, its ostracism of homosexuals and its opposition to artificial contraception.
Klaus Wowereit, the Berlin mayor, who is openly gay, said he could understand why people were protesting. "In its teaching, the church represents theories that belong to past millennia but not to the modern age," he said..."