Benedict XVI wrapped up his first foreign tour as Pope Sunday with an uncompromising warning that Catholics must strictly follow the church's teachings. He also called on young people to "build a better world" by caring for the elderly and the poor, as he capped his first overseas trip with an open-air mass for more than 800,000 people.
As we said before, Pope Benedict XVI left for Germany on the first international trip of his 4-month-old pontificate. Addressing nearly one million young pilgrims, many of whom had camped overnight in a muddy field outside Cologne, the Pope said that Christians should not choose the bits of doctrine they liked and ignore the rest.
He told a vast open-air mass to mark the end of World Youth Day: "At the same time that God is being forgotten there is a boom in religions ... Religion constructed on a do-it-yourself basis cannot ultimately help us. It may be comfortable but at times of crisis we are left to ourselves," according to Guardian.
Many pilgrims said that, in spite of the cool temperatures, experiencing the Pope at close proximity had made the trip worthwhile. While his manner was reserved compared with that of his charismatic predecessor, Pope John Paul II, Benedict had played his new role well, they said, appearing open, if a little tentative, towards the crowds of young people.
Earlier in the week, Benedict made history by becoming the first Pope to visit a synagogue in Germany. In a speech to Jewish leaders at a Cologne synagogue once destroyed by the Nazis, he said Christians and Jews must join forces so the "insane racist ideology" that led to the Holocaust was not repeated, Financial Times reminds.
At a meeting with Muslim leaders he urged them to instruct young people properly to reduce the risk of terrorism.
In the strongest language he had used regarding terrorism since his April election, he said the world would be exposed to "the darkness of a new barbarism" unless religions worked together to combat it.
After meeting Protestant clergy, he said achieving a more honest dialogue within the church would be "a priority of my papacy".
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