Pope preaches in 'true hometown' in Germany

12th September 2006, Comments 0 comments

12 September 2006, REGENSBURG, GERMANY - Pope Benedict XVI preached Tuesday in Regensburg, the provincial German city that he regards as home, insisting at an open-air mass that Christian faith was both simple and reasonable. At the last big mass of his six-day tour of his native Bavaria state, Benedict assailed scientists who did not believe in God. "Science, at least in part, has applied itself to seeking an explanation of the world in which God would be unnecessary," he said. Attendance at the mass appe

12 September 2006

REGENSBURG, GERMANY - Pope Benedict XVI preached Tuesday in Regensburg, the provincial German city that he regards as home, insisting at an open-air mass that Christian faith was both simple and reasonable.

At the last big mass of his six-day tour of his native Bavaria state, Benedict assailed scientists who did not believe in God.

"Science, at least in part, has applied itself to seeking an explanation of the world in which God would be unnecessary," he said.

Attendance at the mass appeared to have fallen short of plan, with half the field in front of the altar empty. Diocesan officials insisted 260,000 attended, while the Bavarian interior ministry said more than 220,000 were present.

Appearing subdued after an intense schedule on the first three days of his visit, the pope said an ancient statement of Christian belief, the Apostles' Creed, contained the essence of the faith, and added, "We try to let others see the reasonableness of our faith."

Later in the day, he was set to repeat the same message in the elaborate terminology of theologians, giving a lecture to academics at Regensburg University where he was theology professor 1969-1977, and close the day by meeting Lutheran leaders.

As the mass began, the white-haired pope, who is 79 and has previously stressed that his remaining life is short, called the congregation to seek forgiveness for sins, saying, "We are all weak individuals, and some of us will soon go to meet the Lord."

The visit has been a trip down memory lane for the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. The previous day, he visited Marktl-am-Inn, the small town in Germany's Bavaria state where he was born and baptised.

But Regensburg, where he was to spend three nights of his six-day stay, is the place he regards as home: his parents are buried there and his brother, Georg, 82, a retired priest, lives there.

The pope even owns a suburban house and garden in Regensburg and was to spend Wednesday afternoon in privacy there with his brother.

The elder Ratzinger's sight is failing and the pope has repeatedly taken his brother by the sleeve, guiding and holding him steady when the two are together.

In the only security scare during the visit so far, guards pinned a man to the ground about 100 metres from the altar during the Tuesday mass after he had suddenly run out of a VIP seating area.

"We don't know why he did it," a Regensburg police spokesman said.

DPA

Subject: German news

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