Saturday, September 13, 2008

Esplanade des Invalides

AP) — Pope Benedict XVI condemned unbridled "pagan" passion for power, possessions and money as a modern-day plague Saturday as he led more than a quarter million Catholics at an outdoor Mass in Paris.
Benedict spoke as he was making his first visit as pontiff to the French capital, renowned for its luxury goods, fashion sense and cultural riches.
"Has not our modern world created its own idols?" Benedict said in his homily, and wondered aloud whether people have "imitated, perhaps inadvertently, the pagans of antiquity?"
"This is a question that all people, if they are honest with themselves, cannot help but ask," the pontiff said.
The 260,000 or so people who gathered on the lawns of the Esplanade des Invalides displayed a joyful outpouring of faith for this traditionally Roman Catholic country, which has witnessed a sharp decline in churchgoing in recent years.
Benedict has continued with a campaign started by his predecessor, John Paul II, who worried that the ever-more affluent West was turning consumerism into a kind of religion and ignoring spiritual values.
Paraphrasing from the New Testament, Benedict decried "insatiable greed" and said "the love of money is the root of all evil."
"Have not money, the thirst for possessions, for power and even knowledge, diverted man from his true destiny?" the pope asked.
In his homily, Benedict blasted modern society's thirst for these new "pagan" idols as a "scandal, a real plague."
The pope urged the faithful to "shun the worship of idols. Do not tire of doing good!'"
Listeners welcomed his message.
Jacqueline Dudek, a 76-year-old great-grandmother from Paris attending the Mass, said she was glad much of France's political elite was there to hear the anti-materialism homily.
"They have plenty of things to learn," she said.
The late-morning Mass is Benedict's only public appearance Saturday before he flies to Lourdes on a pilgrimage to the shrine there, which draws millions of pilgrims each year, many hoping for miracle cures of physical or psychic ills.
Tens of thousands of faithful, many of them young people, had camped overnight on the field after hearing greetings from the pope Friday night as he left a prayer service in Notre Dame.
On Friday, Benedict told young people they shouldn't fear spreading their faith in a society where secularism is entrenched and Islam is growing.
While most French are Catholic at least by tradition — if not in practice — the old yarn is that most go to church three times in their life: at their baptism, their wedding and their funeral.
France also has a fervent belief that faith and the state should be kept strictly separate.
Benedict and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who held talks on Friday, spoke publicly of the contribution that religion can make to forging an ethical society.
"They say that Catholics in France are fewer and fewer, and less devoted. But you can see here that is not true," said Robert Pavilla, a 58-year-old school groundskeeper, gesturing toward the throngs of people on the esplanade.


Anonymous said...

All these pictures from France, seem to show a real lack of "style".

Anonymous said...

What do you mean by style?

Paul R said...

This is updated even as I watch it live. That is quick.

But I love the pope's message. Dont worship idols (celebrities, images, future, etc.,)
Money is the root of all evil.