“A star hour”

For the first time, a pope spoke in the German Bundestag on Thursday. Reactions to the speech follow.

The President of the Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, expressed his satisfaction with the Pope's speech in the Bundestag. Even at the beginning of the speech, there was an unusually concentrated mood, "as we have rarely experienced," he said on Thursday on ARD television.

He described the Pope's reference to the limits of the majority principle as a particularly important point in the speech. In doing so, he says, the head of the church is asking MPs the central question of how they can deliver justice beyond democratic procedures. He was surprised by the Pope's call to rediscover not only reverence for nature, but also reverence for people.

The CDU politician accused the media of fueling the debate about the boycott of the Pope's speech. It was the intense coverage, he said, that led some deputies to seek an "order of bravery" by announcing their boycott.
Norbert Lammert, president of the Bundestag

Archbishop Hans-Josef Becker of Paderborn described Pope Benedict XVI's speech as a "Christian philosophical great moment for Parliament.". in front of the German Bundestag. He particularly liked the invitation to politicians to have "a listening heart," said Becker, who was himself a guest in the Bundestag during the speech. With his lecture, the Pope showed "that political-ethical orientation from faith is not only possible, but also necessary".
Archbishop Hans-Josef Becker

In his speech, he said, the pope made clear what proper bases for decisions are. He had expressed "clear criticism of the financial markets" and also stressed that man should not manipulate himself, which was a rejection of pre-implantation diagnostics (PID).
Volker Kauder (CDU), chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group on ARD television

"He has made clear fundamentals for responsible action; that the inner compass is important for basic orientation."Only then can one act properly.
Rainer Bruderle, leader of the FDP parliamentary group in the ARD

The speech was neither surprising nor declaratory. "It was a speech that gives up reading between the lines."Those who have listened have recognized that it is the task of a politician to set rules. In addition, the Pope had called on politicians to seek orientation with the help of nature and reason.

"This was not the speech to bring young people into the church."
Frank-Walter Steinmeier, head of the SPD parliamentary group on ARD and the news channel n-tv

"The speech would also have fit very well into the Humboldt University."The Pope's praise of the ecological movement was "positively noted. "There was nothing in the speech that would have forced one to leave the hall."
Volker Beck, parliamentary director of the Green parliamentary group in the Bundestag in the ARD

"What I find remarkable is how the Pope emphasized that human rights and respect for human dignity are fundamental principles of Europe, which we should always remember."This then logically also applies to gays, lesbians, refugees, people of other faiths or with atheistic convictions, to remarried people and divorced people. "Accordingly, I understand this speech quite also as an appeal to our own institution." It had been a remarkable speech.
Claudia Roth, federal chairwoman of the Green Party

"The Pope has pointed out that a state cannot function without law. In this way, the Pope has taken sides for a state capable of acting, which regulates the markets, and for a society in which the strength of the law and not the law of strength applies."
Thomas Oppermann, parliamentary director of the SPD parliamentary group in the Bundestag

"Even as a Protestant, I may say: A moving moment in the German Bundestag. Pope Benedict XVI., our brother in faith, is a personality full of humility – blessed with a gifted intellect and marked by deep spirituality. It was the right, respectful decision to give our compatriot the forum of the parliament for an impressive speech."
Patrick Meinhardt (FDP), spokesman for the group "Christians in the FDP parliamentary group"

"It was not a moralizing, not a lecturing, but an argumentative speech."The most important message was the connection between the rule of law and freedom.
Alois Gluck, president of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK) on ARD television

"She surprised me little." Pope discusses as known at a high level. The commitment to the faith and the hint to humility towards nature were important aspects, he said. "It will also find much appeal among Muslims."
Aiman A. Mazyek, chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in the ARD

"This was a great moment in my life as a member of parliament and for parliament."The Pope's address was "impressive, admonishing and encouraging".
Peter Weib (CDU), Member of the Central Committee of German Catholics

"It may have been a clever speech, but opportunities have also been missed." She regretted that the pope had not addressed ecumenism. The president of the Bundestag "clearly demanded an unmistakable sign from him". Benedict XVI. demanded a "listening heart" from all those who bear responsibility in his speech. "That's what I wish for the Catholic Church, too. Unfortunately, in the many cases of sexual abuse, it had rather the protection of perpetrators in mind than the suffering of the victims."
Kerstin Griese, SPD member of parliament and member of the synod of the Evangelical Church in Germany

The Central Council of Muslims in Germany has welcomed the speech of Pope Benedict XVI. in the Bundestag welcomed. Particularly important for him was the hint "that we humans should be humble and be in relationship with the Creator," said Chairman Aiman Mazyek on Thursday. With his remarks, the Catholic Church leader will also have "won over quite a number of Muslims," according to Mazyek. It expects a "new push in interreligious dialogue" from Friday morning's upcoming meeting with Muslim representatives at the Apostolic Nunciature in Berlin.
Chairman Aiman Mazyek, Central Council of Muslims in Germany

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Christina Cherry
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