Pope Benedict XVI called on 80,000 German Catholics to be loyal to their faith and to the Church at this year's Katholikentag in Mannhein.
In a message delivered by the apostolic nuncio to Germany the Pope told participants to "identify yourselves with the Church."
However, the person who received most media attention in Mannheim was the initiator of the Austrian Priests' Initiative (API), Mgr Helmut Schüller, who attended the "Alternative Katholikentag" organised by church reform groups.
He accused the hierarchy of "turning the wheel back" to before the Second Vatican Council.
The 98th Katholikentag was a prelude to the Year of Faith which will begin in October on the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.