Pope Benedict XVI began a four-day visit to his native Germany on Thursday, a move that was met with both protests and celebration.

The pope said he understood why so many people were angry with the Catholic Church and leaving it.

I can understand that in the face of such reports, people, especially those close to victims, would say 'this isn't my Church anymore,' he told reporters, Al Jazeera reported.

Approximately 6,000 police were on duty in Berlin while the pope was in the city, National Public Radio reported.

As for protestors, the pope said he hoped they would be civil, Al Jazeera reported.

It's normal in a free society marked by strong secularism, he said, Al Jazeera reported. I respect those who speak out.

Here are photos of protestors and faithful.