Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pope: Resist temptation


MADRID (AP) – Pope Benedict XVI urged the crowd flying flags from around the world to root their lives in Christ and resist the temptation to follow secular trends, such as euthanasia (mercy-killing) and abortion, saying they lead to nothing since they don’t lead to God.

The Pope also warned at the start of a visit to crisis-hit Spain that Europe won't be able to emerge from its economic woes unless it realizes that economic policy cannot be guided by a profit-driven mentality alone.

He said the continent must take into account ethical considerations that look out for the common good.

Benedict made the comments Thursday as he traveled to Spain's capital for the Catholic Church's World Youth Day, the Catholic festival held once very three years that is expected to draw one million young people from 193 countries for a week of bonding, praying, and partying on Madrid's streets – normally deserted in August.

Hundreds of thousands of them lined Madrid's main boulevards to welcome the Pontiff as he arrived for a four-day visit, a day after a protest against his trip turned violent. The screaming, sun-baked fans threw confetti on his car as he entered Madrid's Plaza de Cibeles for his official welcome ceremony Thursday night.

“Indeed, there are many who, creating their own gods, believe they need no roots or foundations other than themselves,” he warned. “They take it upon themselves to decide what is true or not, what is good and evil, what is just and unjust; who should live and who can be sacrificed in the interests of other preferences.”

He drew laughter and cheers when he briefly donned a straw sombrero presented to him by a young man, then a flower lei by a woman.

As he arrived, Benedict reached out to all young people, saying he understood the desperation many felt because of today's economic uncertainties.

“The economy doesn't function with market self-regulation, but needs an ethical rationale to work for mankind,” he told reporters traveling on the papal plane. “Man must be at the center of the economy, and the economy cannot be measured only by maximization of profit but rather according to the common good.”

Filipinos attending the 26th World Youth Day (WYD) event in Madrid, Spain, are offering their prayers and intentions for the stability of the Catholic Church in the host country and for it “to withstand the challenges of its morally-degenerating society.” This was an apparent reaction to incidents of anti-Catholic protestors harassing WYD delegates, including members of the Philippine delegation.

Father Ransom Rapirap, who handles eight sub-groups of the official Philippine delegation, narrated in an article on the CBSP website how a Spanish man shouted profanities at him and delegate Jandel Posion while they were asking directions from a pharmacist Friday morning in a neighborhood in Alcorcón.

“Suddenly he wanted to cross the street but he was already shouting towards us…The tone of his voice and the expression of his body. He looked as if he wanted to crush you,” Father Rapirap said.

Posion said the incident shocked him.

“I just cannot fathom that they brought Christianity to us, but why are there so many anti-Catholic Spanish people now? What happened?” he said.

JC Perez, a Jesuit novice who came to Madrid under the Archdiocese of Manila, had a more direct confrontation with the anti-Catholic, anti-Pope protesters.

Perez said he was with delegates chanting slogans at train stations in Madrid, when protestors appeared and tried to provoke them with derogatory chants.

In another incident, two Filipino delegates representing Dubai at the WYD, Chris Asero and Rome Jarlego were walking along Sol, Madrid on August 17 when they encountered the protesters harassing some Italian, German and French WYD delegates who were chanting in unison.

“Some were already cursing. Their placards were really derogatory," Asero said.

Meanwhile, young people in the Archdiocese of Manila will hold a simultaneous WYD vigil at the Ateneo de Manila University Campus on August 20-21.

The youth vigil in Manila will be highlighted by Pope Benedict XVI’s message to the youth telecast from Madrid.

Dubbed “WYD 2011 Madrid to Manila,” the overnight youth vigil is an inspiring celebration of prayer, catechesis and reflection, worship and inspirational songs, liturgical celebrations, and sharing of faith stories.


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