Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pope toured Central Sydney

Pope Benedict XVI has toured Sydney's streets in his popemobile after leading a service for 150,000 World Youth Day pilgrims.

Crowds were 50-deep in places along the route, packing footpaths and spilling into side streets.

The flashes of thousands of cameras highlighted the Pope and his procession as it wound through the city during what would normally be peak-hour traffic.

Held back by metal barricades and police, crowds cheered and waved flags as the Popemobile drove past, lit to clearly display the pontiff.

He smiled and waved at the crowds, blessing the pilgrims as he went.

His arrival at St Mary's Cathedral at about 5.45pm (AEST) capped a long day for the 81-year-old, who had celebrated a private mass before his official welcome at 9am (AEST).
An estimated crowd of some 150,000 pilgrims from more than 170 nations then gave the 81-year-old Pope a rock star greeting, befitting the World Youth Day nickname of the "Catholic Woodstock".

It was a sight never seen before in Australia in the name of religion.
The Pope said it was a delight to greet the pilgrims "on the shores of magnificent Sydney harbour with its famous bridge and Opera House".He offered a welcome to the Catholics and Christians in the crowd, and offered encouragement to those "hovering on the edge" of church life, and support for those not present who may be struggling on the margins of society.The Pope said the "social environment" was also under threat, warning pilgrims against the scourge of drugs and alcohol abuse, against the exaltation of sex and violence, and moral relativism.

"Here to, in our personal lives and in our community, we can encounter a hostility, something dangerous, a position which threatens to corrode what is good, reshape who we are and distort the purpose for which we have been created," he said.

He warned that secularism, the belief that God should be left on the sidelines, sought to impose its own world view.

"If God is irrelevant to public life then society will be shaped in a godless image and debate and policy concerning the public good will be driven more by consequences than by principles grounded in truth," he said.

After reading the homily, he addressed the tens of thousands of pilgrims in several languages, including Spanish and French, as they cheered and waved their national flags. from Yahoo 7 News


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