.- In an interview with the Spanish daily “La Razon,” the Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, said that with the election of Benedict XVI, the original plans for the next World Youth Day were kept in place, as more than one million young people are expected for the event.
“We have always expected around 800,000. But I think that now, since we will have two Popes—one in heaven and another on earth—for sure one million young people will come,” the cardinal said.
“John Paul II was the one who invited young people to World Youth Day. More than four million people came to Rome for his funeral, many of them young people. And at the ‘Habemus Papam,’ 80% were young people. I am convinced that we can expect one million young people. Cardinal Rouco has told me that many will come from Spain, because Spain is not far from Cologne,” he said.
The cardinal revealed that he was the first of the cardinals to promise fidelity to the Pope. “I wanted to tell him: ‘Holy Father, welcome to Cologne,’ but I was so overwhelmed I couldn’t say anything. Then the Holy Father said to me, ‘I am coming to Cologne and I am happy to go to Cologne.’ I didn’t need to invite him. He invited himself. And to me that is the way it should be because it is his World Youth Day, not mine.”
The cardinal said that organizers had scaled back the WYD program thinking an infirm John Paul II might be attending. But with the election of a new Pope, they have kept in place the original plans for extended papal involvement.
The Mozart of theology
Several weeks ago, Cardinal Meisner coined the phrase “Mozart of theology” in reference to Pope Benedict XVI. He told “La Razon” that “it means that the Holy Father is to theologians what Mozart is to musicians. His theology is true and beautiful. It’s like the music of Mozart.”
“I have known the Pope for 35 years and we are friends. When I saw that age 78, when others are retiring, he was to take on a mission so great, and he did it with such grace and intelligence, I was moved interiorly and tears began to flow. I’m a man, not a machine. And a man with a heart can cry,” he said, recalling the election of his fellow countryman.
Cardinal Meisner says the new Pontiff “is as intelligent as twelve professors and as pious as a child making his First Communion.”