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Pope Delivers Mass In Erfurt As Germany Visit Continues

Abuse victim Heinz-Juergen Overfeld (right) and activists against sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church demonstrate with a giant nun puppet in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on September 22, at the start of Pope Benedict's visit.
Pope Benedict XVI has kicked off the third day of his first tour as pontiff to his native Germany with a mass in the city of Erfurt.

The pope is on a four-day state visit, during which he has addressed the German parliament and held a joint service with Protestants.

On September 23, the Roman Catholic pontiff met with five victims of sexual abuse by clerics and expressed "deep compassion" for their suffering.

Benedict has been accused by victims groups and their lawyers of being part of a systematic practice of cover-up by the church hierarchy for pedophile priests, in his earlier roles as an archbishop in Germany and later as chief of the Vatican morals office.

compiled from agency reports