Pope to speak English rather than German during Czech visit

Pope Benedict XVI will not speak in his native German during a visit to the Czech Republic in September, the daily Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Monday citing sources from Czech organizers. The Pope’s advisors asked him not to do so because of the problematic historical associations with the language. Unlike his predecessor, John Paul II, Benedict XVI cannot speak Czech and will therefore speak English most of the time. The Pope will also deliver sermons in Italian which will be consecutively interpreted into Czech. The daily said that only the Czech president, Václav Klaus, insisted German is used during a formal meeting with the Pope at Prague Castle.

The head of the Roman Catholic Church will visit the Czech Republic for three days in September. He will be the first incumbent pope to honour St Wenceslas, the Czech patron saint. Benedict XVI will also pay tribute to the Baby Jesus statue in Prague and celebrate mass at Brno airport.

Author: Jan Richter