Pope seeking 'new wave of faith'
Pope Benedict XVI has said he that he hopes his World Youth Day trip this week to his homeland Germany will give "new impulse" to the Catholic Church in Europe.
The BBC reports that he said the idea that Christianity is a burden with its many rules and prohibitions is a misconception.
His main purpose is to take part in World Youth Day, with to 800,000 expected at the Mass next Sunday.
The visit is the 78-year-old pontiff's first abroad since his election.
In an interview with Vatican Radio ahead of the trip, the Pope said there was a widespread idea that "Christianity is composed of laws and bans which one has to keep".
He said this was often seen as "something toilsome and cumbersome".
"I want to make clear that it is not a burden to be carried with great love and realisation, but it is like having wings," he added.
"It is wonderful to be a Christian with this knowledge that it gives us a great breadth, a large community."
Asked what the ideal aim of the festival in Cologne was, Benedict answered that ideally, it would spark "a wave of new faith among young people, especially the youth in Germany and Europe".
World Youth Day is a large jamboree that takes place at different locations every few years.
Cologne was chosen to host the event years before the German-born Pope was elected.
Pope desires 'new wave of faith' (BBC 14/8/05)
Pope's Interview with Vatican Radio (Vatican Radio English Features 14/8/05, audio - requires Real Player)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
World Youth Day - Australia
World Youth Day - International
World Youth Day - Vatican
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15 Aug 2005