Pope puts his faith in world youth rally - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
August 16, 2005

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Pope puts his faith in world youth rally

-16/08/05

While many sociologists have declared that the days of mass evangelistic gatherings are numbered in secular Europe, Pope Benedict XVI is this week putting his faith in a huge youth rally in Germany. He has invited thousands of young people from around the globe to make the pilgrimage to Cologne.

World Youth Day 2005 opened today, following a week of 'exposure visits' to parishes across Germany. It will conclude with a large outside Mass on Sunday at the 640-acre Marienfeld site, a former open-pit coal mine.

The Pope regards it as providential that he, a German, will preside over the gathering in a year when it is located in his homeland. Some 400,000 people will take part, making WYD one of the largest events of its kind.

In a message yesterday, Benedict described World Youth Day, now in its twentieth year, as ìa festival of faith, joy, brotherhood and sisterhood.î But while many will welcome his anticipated call for peace and justice in a divided world, others remain concerned about the Pope's hardline stances against birth control, women's ordination, dignity for lesbians and gays, and free speech within the Church itself.

Among the protestors are Catholics for a Free Choice, who say that the bishops' hardening position against the use of condoms is seriously worsening the plight of those suffering from the HIV-AIDS pandemic, particularly in poor countries.

In June this year Pope Benedict gave an anti-birth control message to church leaders in Africa. His involvement with anti-poverty action around the recent G8 summit was condemned by some, including secularists, as inappropriate.

The Pope's arrival in Cologne has been accompanied by a no-fly zone around the airport and road closures which have caused significant traffic problems. But the overall mood is reported to be one of celebration.

On Friday Benedict will become the first Pope to visit a synagogue. Like his predecessor, John Paul II, the new pontiff has been outspoken against the rise of anti-semitism. But he has also been supportive of Palestinian rights, a move which has angered Jewish conservatives.

ìIt will be interesting to hear what Benedict XVI has to say to the world's young peopleî, a pilgrim to Cologne told Ekklesia this morning. ìOn the one hand, people want him to affirm the positive role faith can play in the face of dehumanization. But on the other, there is concern that his dogmatism is seriously weakening the appeal of the Church among the young.î

Church attendance across Europe has shown a significant decline in recent years, while Christianity's base of growth has shifted towards the South, particularly to Africa and China.

Find books now:

Pope puts his faith in world youth rally

-16/08/05

While many sociologists have declared that the days of mass evangelistic gatherings are numbered in secular Europe, Pope Benedict XVI is this week putting his faith in a huge youth rally in Germany. He has invited thousands of young people from around the globe to make the pilgrimage to Cologne.

World Youth Day 2005 opened today, following a week of 'exposure visits' to parishes across Germany. It will conclude with a large outside Mass on Sunday at the 640-acre Marienfeld site, a former open-pit coal mine.

The Pope regards it as providential that he, a German, will preside over the gathering in a year when it is located in his homeland. Some 400,000 people will take part, making WYD one of the largest events of its kind.

In a message yesterday, Benedict described World Youth Day, now in its twentieth year, as 'a festival of faith, joy, brotherhood and sisterhood.' But while many will welcome his anticipated call for peace and justice in a divided world, others remain concerned about the Pope's hardline stances against birth control, women's ordination, dignity for lesbians and gays, and free speech within the Church itself.

Among the protestors are Catholics for a Free Choice, who say that the bishops' hardening position against the use of condoms is seriously worsening the plight of those suffering from the HIV-AIDS pandemic, particularly in poor countries.

In June this year Pope Benedict gave an anti-birth control message to church leaders in Africa. His involvement with anti-poverty action around the recent G8 summit was condemned by some, including secularists, as inappropriate.

The Pope's arrival in Cologne has been accompanied by a no-fly zone around the airport and road closures which have caused significant traffic problems. But the overall mood is reported to be one of celebration.

On Friday Benedict will become the first Pope to visit a synagogue. Like his predecessor, John Paul II, the new pontiff has been outspoken against the rise of anti-semitism. But he has also been supportive of Palestinian rights, a move which has angered Jewish conservatives.

'It will be interesting to hear what Benedict XVI has to say to the world's young people', a pilgrim to Cologne told Ekklesia this morning. 'On the one hand, people want him to affirm the positive role faith can play in the face of dehumanization. But on the other, there is concern that his dogmatism is seriously weakening the appeal of the Church among the young.'

Church attendance across Europe has shown a significant decline in recent years, while Christianity's base of growth has shifted towards the South, particularly to Africa and China.

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