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Benedict wraps up triumphant first papal trip

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Benedict wraps up triumphant first papal trip

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Wrapping up a triumphant first papal trip, Pope Benedict XVI has drawn a crowd of one million faithful to an open-air mass in Cologne in his native Germany. It marked the end of the Catholic Church’s World Youth Festival which attracted young people from nearly 200 countries. Many camped out overnight in the rain and cold in the field where the mass was to be held to welcome the Holy Father. In his homily which was in five languages, the Pope urged the congregation to follow the Church’s teachings and not treat it like a “do-it-yourself” religion where people chose what they wanted and disregard the rest.

But contrary to his predecessor, Benedict used general principles and made no mention of sexual morality. While he may not have the same charisma as Pope John Paul, many young people said they liked what they saw though they would not necessarily follow what he said. “He is quite conservative and he really could relax a bit more, but I do understand that’s not easy,” said one German girl. Next year’s World Youth Day Festival is due to be held in Sydney, Australia.