The 2011 Berlin anti-Pope demonstration, 'No Power to Dogmas', protested the “inhumane gender and sexual politics of Pope Benedict XVI”.
The demonstration started off with speeches, including by Irmingard Schewe-Gerigk, veteran political champion of women's rights.
Among the messages was the need for the separation of state and religion. Pope Benedikt had been invited by Merkel's government to address the Bundestag (Parliament), the rationale being that he was the head of a state.
Backgrounded by the towers of Potsdamer Platz, the crowd listened appreciatively to the speeches.
These members of parliament boycotted Benedikt's address and attended this protest instead, which the crowd noisily applauded.
Then it was time to march.
Police made sure the demonstrators kept to the allowed route away from the section of Leipzigerstr which leads to the Reichstag, where the Pope was addressing Parliament.
Benedikt's visit was at the height of the child sexual abuse scandal in Germany; the year before, the scandal had led droves of Catholics to leave the church.
Thousands turned up to demonstrate.
“Gays as heretics – burnt – hunted – outlawed”
“Wherever God is, discrimination is found. The state spends 14 million (Euros) every year on the church independent of church taxes.”
“I am an atheist. Thank God.”
Pope Benedikt wrote in 2005 that homosexuality was “a strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil”.
Pope Francis said in 2014: “If a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge” ..
.. and a year before that, Francis acknowledged: “We have to find a new balance; otherwise the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards.”
Under the watch of Catholic Pope Francis, bishops met in October 2014 to discuss reforms based among other things, on the findings of the first-ever global survey of Catholics on issues as contraception, abortion and homosexuality. Francis’ leadership is a far cry from that of his predecessor, Benedikt, whose visit to Berlin three years earlier was met with much protest.
The Keine Macht den Dogmen (No Power to Dogmas) demonstration was organised by the Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany (LSVD), with 68 participating organisations, under the umbrella group name “Der Papst Kommt” (“The Pope is Here”).
On homosexuality, the two popes have quite different takes: Benedikt XVI wrote in 2005 that homosexuality was “a strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil”; Francis said in 2014 that “if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge…”