BERLIN - Pope Benedict said on Sunday he would pray with German Protestants during a visit this week to the cradle of the European Reformation, but played down expectations of a breakthrough in ecumenical ties.
The pope's Sept. 22-25 visit to Germany, his native country, has prompted some Protestants to call for more ecumenical measures like joint communions and Catholic recognition of Protestant churches. Liberal Catholics were also hoping to hear talk of reforms such as more tolerance of divorced Catholics.
Benedict will visit Erfurt, one-time home of Martin Luther, whose reform movement split Western Europe's Christians into Protestants and Catholics 600 years ago.
"In the Augustinian monastery and church where Luther began his path, I will have the opportunity to meet representatives of Germany's Protestant Church," Benedict said in a message televised by German broadcaster ARD. "We will pray together, listen to the word of God, think together and discuss," he said. But he added: "We do not expect any sensations."