WYD 2005 IS EVENT ‘OF TWO
POPES’, SAYS CARDINAL MEISNER
Cologne, Aug. 16, 2005
(CNA) - World Youth Day 2005 “will be celebrated with
two Popes—one in heaven above and the other here on
earth,” said Cardinal Joachim Meisner today in his
comments at the opening press conference before more
than 400 international journalists.
The cardinal referred to
Pope John Paul II—who died in April, but who had
initiated the World Youth Days 20 years ago—and to his
successor, Pope Benedict XVI. Prior to his death, Pope
John Paul had expressed his desire to attend the
gathering in Cologne.
“Both [popes] worked to
make this World Youth Day a reality,” said the
archbishop of Cologne, who is the primary host of the
The cardinal said Germany
and the young pilgrims are looking forward to welcoming
Pope Benedict XVI, but he added that John Paul is
present at this WYD in spirit and “is looking down at us
“Pope John Paul II wanted
young people to be builders of a civilization of love,”
he continued. “And the theme—We have come to worship
him—describes the World Youth Day program and the
program for all future World Youth Days.
“Worshipping God is not
about piety here on earth. It is a prerequisite to
building this civilization of love,” he said.
The late Pope’s dream was
to bring young believers together in one country and to
give them an opportunity to grow and celebrate their
faith, the cardinal said.
“The fact that there are
so many young people here in Cologne demonstrates that
they understand the legacy of this great Holy Father and
that they see themselves as part of this tradition,”
Cardinal Meisner stated.
Bishop Josef Clemens of
the Pontifical Council for the Laity confirmed WYD “is
an idea that will be sustained” by the Church. He said
it is part of the council’s mandate to “make sure that
World Youth Day continues.”