Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela of Madrid, Spain recalled that Pope Benedict was “emotionally moved many times, almost to tears,” during World Youth Day 2011.
The cardinal said Benedict XVI was especially touched by the theatrical presentation of the Stations of the Cross, which he had initially not planned to attend.
Speaking to the COPE radio network on Aug. 22, Cardinal Rouco said the Pope changed his mind upon learning that the stations would be presented following the traditions of the Holy Week celebrations in Spain, using a combination of chant and prayer.
The cardinal also encouraged Catholics to re-read the Pope’s numerous speeches, which he called a treasure trove of “preaching, proclamation of the word and explanations to young people” based on the gospels and on the World Youth Day theme. This year’s theme was, “Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith,” taken from St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians.
“That was the common thread in all of his homilies, speeches and remarks,” the cardinal added.