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“The People Love the Pope”

Cardinal Scola Reviews Benedict XVI’s Visit to Milan; Chides the Press

By Luca Marcolivio

MILAN, Italy, JUNE 5, 2012 ( An event that leaves a legacy of a “a great responsibility,” is how Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan described at a press conference held in the archdiocese’s offices the 7th World Meeting of Families.

The cardinal reviewed the high points of the five days during which Milan received families from around the whole world, with a peak of 1 million pilgrims Sunday morning for the closing Mass at the Bresso aerodrome, presided over by Benedict XVI.

According to the archbishop of Milan, the Pope appeared in good form for the entire duration of his visit. “The Pope said to me, when we greeted him at the airport, that he was more consoled than tired and that he is convinced that in these very demanding trips there is a special grace for him,” said Cardinal Scola.

The Pope’s meeting with the candidates for Confirmation in the San Siro stadium, for example, was “an event that’s not improvised” and it was possible to hold it “because it has been done for so many years and because there is behind it the experience of the cooperation between family and Church through the parishes and the preachers of our diocese,” continued Cardinal Scola.

The archbishop of Milan then showed notable frankness with the journalists who had spoken of the lack of success of the World Meeting, the low popularity of the Pope and the cold reception at his meetings. “You must resign yourselves to a fact: the people of God love the Pope and Italian public opinion does not coincide with Italian media opinion,” said the cardinal to the press present.

“There is a great distance between what you recount and what the people feel. Public opinion loves the Pope, the people love the Pope because of the illuminating power of his humility, which is joined to an intelligence of the faith and of a truly superior man. It is a fact recognized by all. The Pope is loved because of this and we saw it,” he continued.

At the end of the World Meeting, “it is for us” to keep alive the spirit, “because an event is important when it picks up and re-launches the ordinary,” observed Cardinal Scola. He also announced that the Diocese of Milan “has decided to reinvent the old mutual aid societies.”

Church is alive

For his part, Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, said: “The Pope has told us how beautiful it is to be in this living Church. The Church is alive thanks to the people.” Cardinal Antonelli was also frank with the journalists: “You should pay more attention to this living Church than pause on marginal questions.”

The cardinal then said he was surprised by the Holy Father’s choice for the next World Meeting of Families: “in the short list of the cities promoted I thought Philadelphia was excluded. However, almost all the bishops of the United States realized during their visit that the family is experiencing huge difficulties and must face difficult challenges. And, at the same time, that it possesses a great vitality thanks to the contribution of the Church in America,” he said.

In the course of the press conference a round-up of statistical data for the 7th World Meeting of Families was given:

–          Participants in the Holy Mass at Bresso on Sunday, June 3: 1,000,000

–          People on the streets to greet the Pope in the trajectory Curia-Bresso-Curia and Curia-Linate on Sunday, June 3: 150,000

–          Participants in the Celebration of Testimonies at Bresso, on Saturday, June 2: 350,000

–          Authorities who met with the Holy Father for his address at the Curia on Saturday, June 2: 95

–          Confirmation candidates who met with the Holy Father in San Siro Stadium on Saturday, June 2: 80,000

–          Priests, men and women religious, deacons and seminarians who met with him at the Duomo on Saturday, June 2: 5,500

–          People on the streets to greet the passage of the Holy Father in the trajectories Duomo- San Siro- Curia and Curias- Bresso- Curia, on Saturday, June 2: 200,000

–          Participants at the Concert in La Scala Theater on Friday, June 1: 1,880

–          Those present at Duomo Square for the greeting to the city on Friday, June 1: 60,000

–          People on the streets to greet the passage of the Holy Father in the trajectory Linate – Duomo on Friday, June 1: 100,000

–          Visitors to the Fair and the bookstore of the Family in the Milan City Fair from May 30 to June 1: 80,000

–          Delegates from all over the world for the International Theological Pastoral Congress at the Milan City Fair: 6,900

–          Participants in the International Theological Pastoral Congress in the cities of Lombardy and other locations in Milan: 5,000

–          Family 2012 volunteers active during the May 30-June 3 week: 5,300

–          Young participants in the Congress of youngsters at the Milan City Fair: 900

–          Nations present at Milan for the 7th World Meeting of Families: 153

–          Spectators tuned in to RaiUno for the Holy mass on Sunday,(Auditel data):

–          Spectators tuned in to RaiUno for the Celebration of Testimonies on Saturday evening (Auditel data): 3,082,000

–          Spectators tuned in to RaiUno for the broadcast In His Image on Saturday afternoon, June 2 (Auditel data): 1,305,000

–          Spectators tuned in to RaiTre for the meeting with the youngsters of Confirmation and the Pope at San Siro on Friday, June 1 (Auditel data): 800,000

–          Spectators tuned in to RaiUno for Pope Benedict XVI’s address at Duomo Square on Friday, June 1 (Auditel data): 1,490,000

–          Spectators tuned in to RaiTre for the concert at La Scala Theater on Friday, June 1 (Auditel data): 1,200,000

–          Unique visitors to the Web site from May 31 to June 3: 122,305

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