One million pilgrims attend open-air mass with Pope

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Catholic World Youth Day 2005 concluded today with a open-air mass by Pope Benedict XVI at the Marienfeld, about 15 km west of Cologne.

Speaking to some one million pilgrims from about 200 countries the Pope called for a "return to God" . In his sermon, he condemned the commercialisation of faith and said that "Religion constructed on a 'do-it-yourself' basis cannot ultimately help us".

He announced that the next World Youth Day will be held in Sydney and concluded with short addresses in nine languages in which he called upon the faithful to "walk together in unity".

A journalist working for the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel described the speech this way: "First faith, then morality".

The Pope has been in his native Germany since Thursday. During his visit he met with high ranking politicians, made the first ever visit of a Pope to a German synagogue and spoke to representatives of the Muslim community.