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Pope Benedict wraps up triumphant first trip abroad

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Pope Benedict wraps up triumphant first trip abroad

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Wrapping up a triumphant first trip abroad, Pope Benedict XVI drew a crowd of one million faithful this morning 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 chose to spend the night in the field where the mass was to be held – though they didn’t get much sleep in the rain and cold, they were elated just to be there.

In his homily, read in five languages, Benedict urged young people to shun what he called a “do-it-yourself” concept of religion where people chose what they want and disregard other rules. Contrary to his predecessor, the Pope used general principles and made no mention of sexual morality. His visit has been marked by efforts to reach out to young people and other religions with a trip to a synagogue and talks with Muslim leaders. Benedict travels back to the Vatican later today.