Pope Benedict Greeted by Protests During German Tour

Pope Benedict XVI, who has been facing a summer of immense scrutiny, is visiting Germany from Sept. 22-25 and is expected to be greeted by protestors accusing him of trying to cover up child sex abuse allegations.

The pope said of his journey to his homeland in a speech at Bellevue, "Even though this journey is an official visit which will reinforce the good relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Holy See, I have not come here primarily to pursue particular political or economic goals, but rather to meet people and to speak about God."

Nevertheless, not everyone in the pope's native Germany is enthusiastic about the visit, as Benedict was greeted by protestors gathered in Berlin angered by his handling of cases of child abuse by priests and over his views on sexuality.

One protestor, Markus Schuke told Reuters, "Why has he been invited to parliament? He has nothing to do with politics. His policies on condoms are as good as murder."

Another protestor argued against the way the pope has handled child sexual abuse cases saying, "It was the church and this pope who allowed all of the abuse to be swept under the carpet."

The most recent scrutiny following the pope has come from The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) that fielded complaints with the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Pope Benedict XVI and three senior Vatican officials.

Lawyers for the Center for Constitutional Rights are handing the (SNAP) case and argued last week, "The Vatican officials charged in this case are responsible for rape and other sexual violence and for the physical and psychological torture of victims around the world both through command responsibility and though direct cover-up of crimes."

The Vatican responded to the scrutiny in a statement released by the Associated Press, calling the action a "ludicrous publicity stunt and a misuse of international justice system."

Nevertheless, experts believe that because the ICC was established with jurisdiction over war crimes and crimes against humanity, crimes allegedly committed by leaders of the Roman Catholic Church are unlikely to come before the court.

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