COLOGNE, Germany, AUG. 21, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI assured the participants at World Youth Day that they have reflected a “young” Church with “imagination and courage.”
The Pope bid farewell to his native land in the Cologne-Bonn airport. He delivered the last address of his first international apostolic trip as Bishop of Rome, after receiving the affectionate greeting of German President Horst Köhler.
“Indeed one can say that during these days Germany has been the center of the Catholic world,” said the Holy Father. “Young people from every continent and culture, gathered in faith around their pastors and the Successor of Peter, have shown us a young Church, one that seeks with imagination and courage to shape the face of a more just and generous humanity.
“Now they are returning to their own regions and cities to testify to the light, the beauty and the power of the Gospel which they have experienced anew.”
Benedict XVI thanked all those who made the past days possible, and hoped “that this event will remain impressed on the life of Germany’s Catholics, and will be an incentive for a renewed spiritual and apostolic outreach!”
The Pope’s address struck a somber note. “We are all well aware of the evil that emerged from our homeland during the 20th century, and we acknowledge it with shame and suffering.”
However, “during these days, thanks be to God, it has become quite evident that there was and is another Germany, a land of singular human, cultural and spiritual resources,” he said.
The Holy Father left for Rome on flight A321 of Lufthansa Airlines and was due back in Rome around 9:15 p.m., from where he would go directly to Castel Gandolfo, where he will spend the rest of the summer.