Pope Benedict has returned to Rome after making a four-day visit to his native Germany for the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day.
Before leaving Cologne, the 78-year-old Pontiff said he hoped the trip had helped to show the world “the other side Germany” – a country full of cultural and spiritual resources in contrast with the shameful evil of the Nazi period.
More than a million people turned out for the main event of the Pope’s visit – an open-air Mass outside the city.
Most had spent the chilly night singing and praying in a festive atmosphere before the Pope arrived to deliver his eulogy.
At the service, he urged young people to shun “do-it-yourself” religion where they choose what they want and ignore the rest.
The Pope also announced the next World Youth Day would be in Sydney in 2008.