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The Pope arrives in Madrid for World Youth Day

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The Pope arrives in Madrid for World Youth Day

Post  mara thon on Fri 19 Aug - 10:35


The event has attracted thousands of pilgrims to the capital from across the world.
Esperanza Aguirre kisses the Pope after being presented to him by the King - EFE

Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Madrid at noon on Thursday for the World Youth Day which has attracted thousands of pilgrims to the city from across the world.

In his first speech, after touching down at Barajas Aiport in Madrid, he called for a respectful coexistence between ‘legitimate option’.

He was welcomed at the airport by King Juan Carlos, sporting a stick after his recent knee operation, and Queen Sofía. The monarch called for an end to the ‘intolerable youth unemployment’ in his speech. He called for youngsters to be given the means so they can start their way in life, and said that the youth of today was ‘frustrated’ by the lack of personal and labour horizons. The King thanked the Pope for what is his third visit to Spain.

The Pope responded to the King’s concerns by saying ‘The Youth is not alone’ and that World Youth Day brings a message of hope. The Pontiff also called for opportunities for the young, before setting off on a tour of the city on his Pope Mobile.
‘I have called for opportunities for the young in this time in which there is a deep crisis in values’. He continued that although there were matters for concern in Spain it was better to look towards overcoming them and called on youngsters ‘not to be ashamed of turning to the Lord’.

Also welcoming the Pope at the airport was the Cardinal Archbisop of Madrid, Rouco Varela. He said in his speech that he thought World Youth Day would result in 500,000 marriages and vocations, and said that Madrid had become a ‘universal home for the youth’.

The Pope will make a total of 12 speeches during his stay in Madrid.

Madrid is not a city to move in, with many central streets now closed to traffic and a 24 hour strike underway on the Metro.

Protestors have complained about the cost of the visit, but the organisers insist that it is not funded by the public purse. That said it has been revealed that the PP President of the Madrid region, Esperanza Aguirre, has given the order that pilgrims be exempt any medical charges during their visit. She has sent a circular to all the health centres in the region with the instruction.

Protestors also note that pilgrims get a discount on public transport, the free use of public space for accommodation, and the organisation has been granted an exemption of copyright charges for any music used.

The lay protestors who held a rally to Sol on Wednesday night were cleared from the square by a police charge, which resulted in six arrests and two policemen being injured. Today the protestors called a spontaneous protest in Sol against ‘police brutality’.

It has also been revealed that the Mexican who has been arrested for planning a chemical attack on the anti-Pope march is himself a member of the volunteers for World Youth Day. He told the court that his preparations were ‘a joke in bad taste’. He claimed that he had no intention of carrying it out. He was granted bail but ordered to register with the police twice a day.

mara thon
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