Pope will not 'impose' Christian values on Germans: envoy

8th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Pope Benedict XVI will not "impose" Christian values on a German visit but merely to "propose" them, a Catholic envoy stressed Thursday amid widespread opposition to the pending papal visit.

"The pope will not come to impose Christian values, but to propose them, like Christ himself did," Jean-Claude Perisset, papal spokesman in Berlin, told religious news agency I.Media.

"People are free to accept them (the values) or not," he said, adding: "The acceptance of freedom of opinion and expression should also contribute to the protests not placing any obstacles in the way of the visit and its significance to German society."

Opposition to the pope's visit has come from the left Die Linke political party and gay rights groups, with a large protest planned for the first day, in Berlin.

In addition, theologians from Germany, Austria and Switzerland have recently demanded drastic reforms, including abandoning the practice of priest celibacy, allowing women to become priests and same-sex marriage.

But Perisset said it was "highly unlikely" the pope would take up controversial issues with members of the Roman Catholic Church on his visit.

The pontiff will visit his German homeland from September 22-25, starting in Berlin, where he is due to address parliament.

© 2011 AFP

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