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Pope Benedict Begins First State Visit To Native Germany


German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) and German President Christian Wulff (far right) welcome Pope Benedict upon his arrival in Berlin.
Benedict XVI has begun his first official visit to Germany, his home country, as pope.

In parliament, the pontiff urged politicians to seek justice, not just power, and to hold on to the Christian tradition.

He told members of parliament that it was Christianity which provided the basis of Europe's legal and political systems, and their focus on "the inviolability of human rights."

He received a standing ovation from MPs, though some boycotted the event.

Speaking after a meeting with Jewish community leaders, Pope Benedict called for closer ties between the Catholic and Jewish faiths, drawing lessons from the horror of the Nazi Holocaust.

During his four-day visit, the pope also plans to meet with Muslim leaders.

Several thousand protesters marched aganist the pope in Berlin today, some dressed as condoms, others as Adolf Hitler, attacking the Vatican's views on contraception, homosexuality, and the handling of the priest sex abuse scandal.

compiled from agency reports