Pope Benedict has taken his leave of King Juan Carlos and Spain after a protest-hit “World Youth Day” festival.
The pontiff held Mass at Madrid’s Cuatro Vientos aerodrome urging 1.5 million young Catholics to spread the gospel.
But the lasting impression of the event has been clashes with police as hundreds of Spaniards protested at the cost of the papal visit.
Protesters included members of Los Indignados (The Indignant), a group whose mainly young members occupied the central Puerta del Sol square in May to protest against economic woes and high unemployment.
Before departing Madrid on Sunday evening, Benedict said he would pray for all Spaniards, but particularly for the young, so that they can help deal with the challenges facing the country.
“I am sure they (the young people) will contribute the best they have to offer through their faith in Christ, so that this great country can face the challenges of the present hour,” the Pope said