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Pope Benedict XVI to Face Boycott on Trip to German Homeland

Pope Benedict XVI to Face Boycott on Trip to German Homeland

Members of the German parliament are planning a boycott of Pope Benedict XVI when the pontiff makes a speech in parliament Thursday.

Legislators from a number of political parties, including the Green, Left and Social Democratic opposition parties (SPD), have indicated they will not be in attendance at Bundestag when the German pontiff makes his remarks.

What is of contention is the pope's position on political and social issues that many consider to be in conflict with their own beliefs, as Ulla Burchardt, an SPD politician from Dortmund, told Der Spiegel.

"A head of state who disregards labor rights, women’s rights and the right to sexual self-determination should not be allowed to address the Bundestag," Burchardt said.

Others also disagree with the notion of the pope being classified as a head of state, rather than the head of a religion, which would make Benedict ineligible to address parliament.

Alexander Sussmair, of the socialist Left party, expressed his dissatisfaction to Der Spiegel by claiming an inability to imagine "what the Federal Republic of Germany could learn from the representative of an absolute monarchy."

In a recent survey for the Bertelsmann Foundation, only 37 percent of the Catholics and 14 percent of Protestants polled in Germany looked forward to hearing the pope’s speech.

Nearly three-quarters of Catholics polled want the Roman Catholic Church to liberalize, while only 13 percent support the return of traditions fostered by Pope Benedict XVI.

Still, there are some who are looking forward to the pope's visit.

As Reuters reports, supporters of Pope Benedict’s tour of Germany, criticized politicians who expressed doubts over his conservative views, his planned speech to parliament and the cost of his visit.

With his visit just one day away, Berlin police began closing streets and imposing high-level security in parts of the capital where the pope will appear at the beginning of his four-day tour.

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