Cardinal Rouco: The Pope Was Moved With Emotion

Madrid’s Archbishop Offers Evaluation of World Youth Day

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MADRID, Spain, AUG. 22, 2011 ( Benedict XVI was «so emotional, he almost wept» during some of the key moments of World Youth Day, reports the archbishop of Madrid.

In statements yesterday morning to COPE, the broadcasting station of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco said that one of the moments of the youth gathering that most moved the Pope was the Via Crucis.

The 26th World Youth Day ended Sunday in Madrid. Over 1.5 million youth gathered together with the Holy Father in Spain’s capital at the Cuatro Vientos Air Base on Saturday night for a prayer vigil, and on Sunday for the closing Mass.

The Pontiff spent four days in Madrid.

«On learning that this formula of the Via Crucis had been adopted, with the tradition of the stations beginning with the pasos of Holy Week, with the ensemble of song and text of the prayer of the Via Crucis, he became enthusiastic,» the cardinal said, who is also the president of the conference of Spanish bishops.

In the cardinal’s opinion, Madrid’s WYD «has surpassed again the standard of the way of developing the important central events, which every time are of less expressive superficiality, with greater loftiness of living and of profound effect on the heart and soul of the young people.»

The cardinal described as «very beautiful» the meetings with nuns and young university professors in The Escorial, as well as with the handicapped in St. Joseph’s Institute.

In other statements to the same network, he pointed out the attitude of the young pilgrims given the difficulties in Cuatro Vientos, first with the extreme heat and then with the sudden storm.

True Christians

Cardinal Ruoco said the young participants showed «much more than tolerance in all the events»: «They are youngsters who live in the Church the experience of Christ in a determinant way for their life and when they manifest themselves in a shared way they do so as true Christians. A Christian has a basic and principal mandate to configure his life, to treat the other as a brother.»

The cardinal mentioned, among other instances, the «immense silence» kept by pilgrims when the Most Holy Sacrament arrived in Cuatro Vientos.

«The style of the young people’s liturgical participation was impressive. Even at night the standard of the celebration was maintained and it was very beautiful, accompanied of course by exceptional music,» he pointed out.

«Demonstrated with this World Youth Day is that life becomes an offering full of meaning and joy when it is lived from the values that the young people demonstrated,» said the archbishop of Madrid.

In statements to Vatican Radio, Cardinal Rouco said that «for very many young people, this experience will mark a change in their lives.»

«Another point that must be stressed is that ecclesial communion will be very reinforced,» he continued. «All the different realities of the Church collaborated together: religious orders, movements, associations, new communities, parish and diocesan realities. This is a fact that no one can deny and that will bear much fruit in the future.»

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