Pope Benedict arrives in Berlin

Pope Benedict touches down in the German capital at the start of a four-day tour of mostly Protestant and atheist regions in the ex-communist east.

September 22, 2011 17:17
Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

Pope Benedict touches down at Berlin's Tegel airport on Thursday morning as he starts his most difficult visit yet to his German homeland - touring mostly Protestant and atheist regions in the ex-communist east.

Germany's religious and political complexity presents challenges for the 84-year-old pontiff, who is German but radically out of step with the way his country has developed.

During his visit, the Pope is expected to meet with President Wulf, a Catholic who has divorced and remarried in defiance of Church rules, and Chancellor Merkel, a Protestant who has urged him to focus on improving ecumenical relations.

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He will end his visit in the mostly Catholic southwestern city of Freiburg.

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