Archbishop Orani João Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro is welcoming the prayer with which the retired Benedict XVI will sustain July’s World Youth Day, even as his Successor makes the trip to Rio.
The archbishop of the host city affirmed that preparations for the July 23-28 event will not be affected by the Pope’s resignation, given that it was always understood that if Benedict XVI were not to take part in the Day, his Successor would go in his stead.
World Youth Day will be one of the first major events for the new pontiff, just as the Youth Day of Cologne in 2005 was one of Benedict XVI’s first events, some four months after his election to the See of Peter.
The only possible changes that would be made in the new pontiff’s agenda in Rio would be the places he will visit, Archbishop Tempesta suggested.
On Feb. 27, the day before Benedict XVI’s resignation becomes effective, Archbishop Tempesta said he will arrive in Rome to thank the Holy Father for his work as Christ’s vicar and for having chosen Rio de Janeiro as the venue for the forthcoming WYD. The archbishop expressed his gratitude to Benedict XVI for having guided the Church with faith and rationality in difficult times.
In regard to comparisons between Benedict XVI and Blessed John Paul II, the archbishop of Rio said that it is not up to us to judge or compare, but to perceive and value the obedience and response that each one has given to serve the Catholic Church, and the endeavor of evangelization throughout the world.
In regard to the possibility of his being the first host of the new pope, Cardinal Tempesta said that the introduction of the pontiff to the world during the WYD will be a beautiful sign of new times for Catholic youth, joyful for all, and with Benedict XVI’s prayers.
Asked if a new pontiff will imply even greater numbers for the WYD, the archbishop said the greatest concern of the organizers of this youth mega-meeting is to be able to receive all those who will attend in the best way possible.