· The latest information presented in the Holy See Press Office ·
The difficult situation of young people who are forced to live in an environment of “fluidity and uncertainty, like the one today,” will be the focus of Benedict XVI during World Youth Day in Madrid, according to the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi at a press gathering this morning, August 12, for journalists accredited to follow the Holy Father to Spain. The official opening will take place on Tuesday, with a mass celebrated by the Cardinal Archbishop of the Spanish capital, Antonio Maria Rouco Varela. The arrival of the Pope is scheduled for Thursday, August 18th. Fr. Lombardi emphasized to journalists that Benedict XVI “is going to Spain for World Youth Day to bring an extremely positive and challenging message for all young people in the world.”
Some new elements in the program this year include: the opening mass which will be celebrated with the new ritual of Blessed John Paul II; the presence of a fifth of the world’s episcopate (800 prelates); the participation of Benedict XVI at all of the celebrations of the via Crucis (in the past, he only introduced it); a lunch for Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, offered by the Minister of the Presidency, Ramon Jauregui, who is also President of the government organizing committee which will occur on Friday, 19th at the same time as the Pope, in the Nunciature, will have lunch with twelve young people.
Cardinal Bertone will be accompanied by the Substitute, Giovanni Angelo Becciu and the Apostolic Nuncio, Renzo Fratini, who will meet, among others, the Foreign Minister, Trinidad Jimenez and the Spanish Ambassador to the Holy See, Maria Jesus Figa Lopez-Palop.
Responding to journalists questions, Fr. Lombardi underscored that the context is that of, “Spanish society today, but the center and structure is this great meeting which Spain hosts with great cordiality and attention.” Regarding the possibility of protests, Fr. Lombardi said, “sometimes before a Papal trip, there are signs of protest,” as happened in Malta or England, for example, “always from those who have a different opinion and who take the opportunity to let their position be known. It doesn’t seem to me that we should be surprised or worried by this; it is part of the life of a democratic country: whomever is not in agreement is free to say so, and in the appropriate ways. But there are many, many people who are happy to see the Pope.”
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