WYD 2005


Zenit has the goods on all your World Youth Day needs.

Transcript of a radio interview given by Pope Benedict XVI on August 15th.


Q: Holy Father, can you tell me what you would like to transmit to the youth of the world? What is the main issue you would like to "bring about"?

Benedict XVI: Yes -- I would like to show them how beautiful it is to be Christian, because the widespread idea which continues to exist is that Christianity is composed of laws and bans which one has to keep and, hence, is something toilsome and burdensome -- that one is freer without such a burden.

I want to make clear that it not a burden to be carried by a great love and realization, but it is like having wings. It is wonderful to be a Christian with this knowledge that it gives us a great breadth, a large community. As Christians we are never alone -- in the sense that God is always with us, but also in the sense that we are always standing together in a large community, a community for The Way, that we have a project for the future -- and in this way a Being which is worth believing in.

This is the joy of being a Christian and is the beauty of believing.

Cardinal Meisner's opening address.


We all share a yearning for the good, the pure, the great and the beautiful. Why is that? Because we were all made in the image of God, who is the highest good and purity personified. That is why no one can want to be bad, impure and ugly. The hunger for love is in all of us.

When I asked a nonbeliever, "Do you wish to be unloved?" he answered, "That would be hell." How did he know this without having been taught about faith? Because we all originated in God's hand and have an intuitive knowledge of God and the fact that we were made in his image. And because God never releases us, even if we break away from him, we always instinctively remain aware of our origin and destination. Saint Augustine already realized this 1,600 years ago. He summarized this insight in his memorable words: "Our hearts are restless until they rest in you."

4. Two thousand years ago, this inner driving force from God caused the Three Kings to commence their journey to Christ. It has also brought you here to Cologne to look for and find God. He guarantees you a great future and a fulfilled life. For Christ, there was no alternative. When some of the disciples disagreed with his teachings, they decided to turn away from him.

Jesus asked the remaining disciples, "Do you also wish to go away?" And it was the first Peter who gave the Lord an answer that is both the first and the shortest creed in holy Scripture: "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life" (John 6:68). Peter's creed is also our own. "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life."

The Lord expressly tells us, "No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me" (John 6:44). You, dear brothers and brothers, have been drawn by the Father. That is the ultimate reason why you are here in Cologne. Your presence here is the result of an act of mercy by God. And I promise you sincerely: He will therefore remain your leader. He will turn you into a blessing for your environment, your fatherland, for the whole world, and guide you in bringing the world closer to God. That is how the world will remain a habitable place for us humans as God's children.

Cardinal Meisner's first catechesis.

The Pope's address upon arriving in Germany.


n this spirit of esteem and acceptance toward all those who come from different cultures and traditions, we are about to experience World Youth Day in Cologne. That so many young people have come to meet the Successor of Peter is a sign of the Church's vitality. I am happy to be with them, to confirm their faith and to enliven their hope. At the same time, I am sure that I will also receive something from them, especially from their enthusiasm, their sensitivity and their readiness to face the challenges of the future.

And so I greet the young people themselves, and all those who have welcomed them in these event-filled days. In addition to intense moments of prayer, reflection and celebration with them and with all those taking part in the various scheduled events, I will have an opportunity to meet the bishops, to whom even now I extend a warm greeting. I will also meet the representatives of the other churches and ecclesial communities, make a visit to the synagogue for a meeting with the Jewish community, and also welcome the representatives of some Islamic communities. These meetings are important steps along the journey of dialogue and cooperation in our shared commitment to building a more just and fraternal future, a future which is truly more human.

During this World Youth Day we will reflect together on the theme: "We Have Come To Worship Him" (Matthew 2:2). This is a precious opportunity for thinking more deeply about the meaning of life as a "pilgrimage," guided by a "star," in search of the Lord. Together we shall consider the Magi, who, coming from various distant lands, were among the first to recognize the promised Messiah in Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of the Virgin Mary, and to bow down in worship before him (cf. Matthew 2:1-12).

The Pope's address to young people gathered in Cologne, given in 5 languages from a ship on the Rhine:

Excerpt (the English portion):

With great joy I welcome you, dear young people. You have come here from near and far, walking the streets of the world and the pathways of life. My particular greeting goes to those who, like the Magi, have come from the East. You are the representatives of so many of our brothers and sisters who are waiting, without realizing it, for the star to rise in their skies and lead them to Christ, Light of the Nations, in whom they will find the fullest response to their hearts' deepest desires. I also greet with affection those among you who have not been baptized, and those of you who do not yet know Christ or have not yet found a home in his Church. Pope John Paul II had invited you in particular to come to this gathering; I thank you for deciding to come to Cologne.

Some of you might perhaps describe your adolescence in the words with which Edith Stein, who later lived in the Carmel in Cologne, described her own: "I consciously and deliberately lost the habit of praying."

During these days, you can once again have a moving experience of prayer as dialogue with God, the God who we know loves us and whom we in turn wish to love. To all of you I appeal: Open wide your hearts to God! Let yourselves be surprised by Christ! Let him have "the right of free speech" during these days! Open the doors of your freedom to his merciful love! Share your joys and pains with Christ, and let him enlighten your minds with his light and touch your hearts with his grace. In these days blessed with sharing and joy, may you have a liberating experience of the Church as the place where God's merciful love reaches out to all people. In the Church and through the Church you will meet Christ, who is waiting for you.

The Pope's address after his visit to the cathedral in Cologne.

The Pope's address to seminarians.

The Pope's address at the Synagogue of Cologne.


In the 40 years that have passed since the conciliar Declaration "Nostra Aetate," much progress has been made, in Germany and throughout the world, towards better and closer relations between Jews and Christians. Alongside official relationships, due above all to cooperation between specialists in the biblical sciences, many friendships have been born. In this regard, I would mention the various declarations by the German Episcopal Conference and the charitable work done by the "Society for Jewish-Christian Cooperation in Cologne," which since 1945 have enabled the Jewish community to feel once again "at home" here in Cologne and to establish good relations with the Christian communities. Yet much still remains to be done.

We must come to know one another much more and much better. Consequently, I would encourage sincere and trustful dialogue between Jews and Christians, for only in this way will it be possible to arrive at a shared interpretation of disputed historical questions, and, above all, to make progress towards a theological evaluation of the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. This dialogue, if it is to be sincere, must not gloss over or underestimate the existing differences: in those areas in which, due to our profound convictions in faith, we diverge, and indeed precisely in those areas, we need to show respect for one another.

Finally, our gaze should not only be directed to the past, but should also look forward to the tasks that await us today and tomorrow. Our rich common heritage and our fraternal and more trusting relations call upon us to join in giving an ever more harmonious witness and to work together on the practical level for the defense and promotion of human rights and the sacredness of human life, for family values, for social justice and for peace in the world. The Decalogue (cf. Exodus 20; Deuteronomy 5) is for us a shared legacy and commitment. The Ten Commandments are not a burden, but a sign-post showing the path leading to a successful life. This is particularly the case for the young people whom I am meeting in these days and who are so dear to me. My wish is that they may be able to recognize in the Decalogue a lamp for their steps, a light for their path (cf. Psalm 119:105).

Adults have the responsibility of handing down to young people the torch of hope that God has given to Jews and to Christians, so that "never again" will the forces of evil come to power, and that future generations, with God's help, may be able to build a more just and peaceful world, in which all people have equal rights and are equally at home.

The Pope's address to an ecumenical gathering of various Christians.

What does it mean to restore the unity of all Christians? The Catholic Church has as her goal the full visible unity of the disciples of Christ, as defined by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council in its various documents (cf. "Lumen Gentium," 8, 13; "Unitatis Redintegratio," 2, 4, etc.). This unity subsists, we are convinced, in the Catholic Church, without the possibility of ever being lost (cf. "Unitatis Redintegratio," 4). This does not, however, mean uniformity in all expressions of theology and spirituality, in liturgical forms and in discipline.

Unity in multiplicity, and multiplicity in unity: in my homily for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul on June 29, I insisted that full unity and full catholicity go together. As a necessary condition for the achievement of this coexistence, the commitment to unity must be constantly purified and renewed; it must constantly grow and mature. To this end, dialogue has its own contribution to make. More than an exchange of thoughts, it is an exchange of gifts (cf. "Ut Unum Sint," 28), in which the Churches and the ecclesial Communities can make available their own riches (cf. "Lumen Gentium," 8, 15; "Unitatis Redintegratio," 3, 14ff; "Ut Unum Sint, 10-14).

As a result of this commitment, the journey can move forward step by step along the path to full unity, when at last we will all "attain to the unity of faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13). It is obvious that, in the end, this dialogue can develop only in a context of sincere and committed spirituality. We cannot "bring about" unity by our powers alone. We can only obtain unity as a gift of the Holy Spirit. Consequently, spiritual ecumenism -- prayer, conversion and the sanctification of life -- constitute the heart of the ecumenical movement (cf. "Unitatis Redintegratio," 8; "Ut Unum Sint," 15ff., 21, etc.). It could be said that the best form of ecumenism consists in living in accordance with the Gospel.

The Pope's address to members of German Muslim comunities.

The Pope's address at the evening vigil on August 19th.

Dear friends, what does all this mean for us? What we have just been saying about the nature of God being different, and about the way our lives must be shaped accordingly, sounds very fine, but remains rather vague and unfocussed. That is why God has given us examples. The Magi from the East are just the first in a long procession of men and women who have constantly tried to gaze upon God's star in their lives, going in search of the God who has drawn close to us and shows us the way. It is the great multitude of the saints -- both known and unknown -- in whose lives the Lord has opened up the Gospel before us and turned over the pages; he has done this throughout history and he still does so today. In their lives, as if in a great picture-book, the riches of the Gospel are revealed. They are the shining path which God himself has traced throughout history and is still tracing today...

The saints, as we said, are the true reformers. Now I want to express this in an even more radical way: Only from the saints, only from God does true revolution come, the definitive way to change the world. In the last century we experienced revolutions with a common program -- expecting nothing more from God, they assumed total responsibility for the cause of the world in order to change it. And this, as we saw, meant that a human and partial point of view was always taken as an absolute guiding principle. Absolutizing what is not absolute but relative is called totalitarianism. It does not liberate man, but takes away his dignity and enslaves him. It is not ideologies that save the world, but only a return to the living God, our Creator, the guarantor of our freedom, the guarantor of what is really good and true. True revolution consists in simply turning to God who is the measure of what is right and who at the same time is everlasting love. And what could ever save us apart from love?

The Pope's WYD Mass homily.

It begins:

Yesterday evening we came together in the presence of the Sacred Host, in which Jesus becomes for us the bread that sustains and feeds us (cf. Jn 6:35), and there we began our inner journey of adoration.

The Pope's Angelus address at the end of Mass.

The Pope's address to the German bishops.

The Pope's farewell address delivered from the airport.

Not quite the same as being there.... but it's the best I can do.

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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on August 21, 2005 9:41 AM.

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