“Love can be stronger than all the evil in the world” – that was the message to Catholic pilgrims from the Pope on Sunday, as he celebrated mass at Lourdes in southwestern France.
More than 150,000 people turned out for the service, which is part of Benedict’s first visit to the country as pontiff. He also had a meeting with French bishops and cardinals, addressing issues that have caused controversy in the church. He defended his decision last year to authorise wider celebration of the old Latin mass.
Some in the church took this to be the start of a rollback of reforms that began in the 1960s. The pontiff has denied this and called on the church to show unity on the issue. The pope has also called for more interreligious dialogue, but says the debate has to be open and worthwhile.