Benedict fondly recalls "noisy" World Youth Day in Australia

Other News Materials 10 August 2008 18:05 (UTC +04:00)

Pope Benedict XVI speaking on Sunday at the end of his 10-day holiday in the Italian Alps, said it had given him time to reflect on the "sometimes noisy" but joyful experience of last month's World Youth Day in Australia, the dpa reported.

The pontiff was speaking before some 9,000 people who packed a square in front of the cathedral of the northeastern town of Bressanone for the Sunday noon Angelus prayer.

The 81-year-old Benedict said his holiday had allowed him to reflect on his meetings in Sydney with young people from all over the world and how their experience contrasted with the "false escapism" of many peers who indulge in violence, alcohol and drug abuse.

"In the great metropolis of the young Australian nation those young people were a sign of authentic joy, sometimes noisy, but always peaceful and positive," Benedict said.

"Despite their large number, they did not cause disorder or any damage. To have fun they did not need to engage in raucous or violent acts, nor rely on alcohol and drugs," Benedict said.

"How can one not contrast them to their peers who, searching for false escapism, consume degrading experiences that sometimes result in tragedy," Benedict said.

Touching on a recurrent theme of his papacy, Benedict blamed so-called modern "prosperous society" for offering young people empty values and boredom which he said tempted them to seek new "extreme" experiences.

"In this way the spirit does not rest, the heart does not experience joy, but in fact ends up being more exhausted and sad than before," Benedict said.

"Let's pray that in a society which is always moving faster, vacations may be days of relax during which we can find moments for prayer and time to find ourselves and others," Benedict.

The pontiff also spoke to the faithful in his native German, the language of the majority of the population of Alto Adige, the Italian region bordering Austria where Bressanone is located.

On Monday Benedict is scheduled to return to the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo near Rome.