Sunday, January 20, 2008

Today's Angelus

As I promised, I made it to today's Angelus, and as Fr Z notes there were 200,000 others there to show their solidarity with the Pope. What can be said? It was a joyful moment of prayer with the Holy Father. The contrast with the scenes at La Sapienza couldn't be greater. The police presence was very light despite the numbers present, whilst the protesters in the university had to be controlled by legions of riot-police. There was also a wonderful mix of people there of all ages, although it was surprising to note how many young people showed up. It was also interesting to see the banners of some of Italy's trade unions present - not protesting, but showing that the Pope's voice is welcome in the public arena.
Our professor-Pope can be a tad formal and reserved, but there was no disguising the fact that he was chuffed at the turn-out and the attentive reception that his words received. Rocco draws attention to the intimate tone of his conclusion:
"The university environment, which for many years was my world, linked for me a love for the seeking of truth, for exchange, for frank and respectful dialogue between differing positions. All this, too, is the mission of the church, charged to faithfully follow Jesus, the Teacher of life, of truth and of love. As a professor, so to say, emeritus, who's encountered many students in his life, I encourage you, dear collegians, to always be respectful of other people's opinions and to seek out, with a free and responsible spirit, the truth and the good. To all and each of you I renew the expression of my gratitude, assuring you of my affection and prayers."
I brought my camera with me and snapped the following:

The crowd arriving 20 minutes before the Pope begins the Angelus.

There were plenty of colourful flags and banners.

The crowd spilled out onto the Via della Conciliazione.

Viva il Papa!

The piazza was packed.

A shot of the crowd leaving by the Porta Angelica.

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