Pope begins state visit to Germany



BERLIN (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI has arrived in Germany on his first state visit to his homeland where he is expected to be greeted by large protests and even larger crowds of Catholic faithful.

The Bavarian-born pontiff was met on a red carpet at Berlin’s Tegel airport Thursday by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Christian Wulff at the start of his four-day visit.

He will speak in parliament later, which many lawmakers have vowed to boycott in protest. Another 10,000 are expected to demonstrate outside.

The pope plans meetings with leaders of Germany’s Jewish and Muslim communities, three Masses, an ecumenical service with Lutheran church members and possibly meetings with victims abused by priests.