They have been preparing to greet the Pope in Austria. But some groups are using his three day visit to voice criticism about his attitudes to grass-roots catholics and homosexuals. During the visit Benedict XVI will take part in a silent ceremony to remember Austria’s 65,000 Jewish victims of the Holocaust. But gay-rights campaigners are angry about his conservative stance on homosexuality.
Leading member of the gay community Christian Hougel says: “It’s bad timing for the Pope’s visit because there’s a major debate in Austria about legalising gay partnerships so lesbians and gay men can get married. We’re afraid the Pope’s messages will harden public opinion here against that.”