ON BOARD ALITALIA – Saturday morning, during the Alitalia flight to Spain, Pope Benedict XVI met with the journalists accompanying him. He shared two themes of his pilgrimage: being on the way and the theme of beauty, an expression of truth in beauty, continuity between tradition and renewal. The message of the trip is also “be on the way, do not miss the journey of faith, look for the beauty of faith, the innovation and tradition of faith which knows how to express themselves and meet with the modern beauty, with the today’s world.”
Vatican spokesperson Jesuit Father Lombardi briefed Pope Benedict XVI in flight from Rome to Santiago de Compostela (Saturday 6 Nov 2010). He said there are more than 3,000 accredited journalists awaiting Pope’s arrival in Santiago and Barcelona. They represent more than 300 different media outlets. Also accompanying him in flight were 61 journalists and 61 others mostly Spaniards along with eight accredited Spanish colleagues in Rome.
There were eight Spaniards who came from Spain to make the whole trip with the Pope. Also on board were the Galicia and Catalonia televisions crew to ensure full coverage of the events of the trip.
Commenting on his pilgrimage, the Pope said, “Of course, against the pilgrimage one could say: God is everywhere, there is no need to go to another place. But it is also true that faith, in its essence, is “to be a pilgrim.”
On Sagrada Familia church Pope said: In reality, this cathedral is also a sign for our own time. I find the vision of Gaudí three main elements.
First, here is synthesis between continuity and new, tradition and creativity. Gaudí had the courage to join the great tradition of the cathedrals, to dare again, in his century – with a totally new – this reality: the cathedral of place ‘ encounter between God and man, in great solemnity, and the courage to remain in the tradition, but with a new creativity, renewing the tradition and demonstrates the unity of history and progress of history, is a beautiful thing.
Second. Gaudí wanted this trinomial: Book of Nature, a book of scripture, the Book of the Liturgy. And this synthesis is of great importance today. In the liturgy, Scripture becomes the present, it becomes reality today is no longer a Scripture than two thousand years ago, but it should be celebrated, made. In the celebration about the creation of Scripture, speaks of creation and finds true answer, because, as Saint Paul tells us, the creature suffers, and, instead of being destroyed, despised, waiting for the children of God, that those who seen in the light of God And so – I think – this synthesis between the sense of creation, Scripture and worship is really a very important message for today.
And finally – the third point – this cathedral was born from a traditional devotion of the nineteenth century: Saint Joseph, the Holy Family of Nazareth, the mystery of Nazareth. But this devotion in the past, you might say, is of great relevance, because the problem of the family, the renewal of the family as the basic unit of society, is the big issue today and shows us where we can go both in the construction of society is the unity between faith and life, between religion and society. Family is the basic theme that is expressed here, saying that God himself became a son in the family and calls us to build and live family.
Pope addressed the question of New Evangelization of Europe and said “Spain has always been a country of “origin” of faith, we believe that the revival of Catholicism in modern times is largely due to Spain; figures as Saint Ignatius of Loyola, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross (Avila), are figures that have actually renewed Catholicism, formed the face of modern Catholicism. But it is equally true that in Spain also gave rise to a secular state, an anti-clericalism, secularism is a strong and aggressive, as we have seen in their thirties, and this dispute, as this clash between faith and modernity, both very bright, it also takes place today again in Spain: so for the future of faith and of the meeting – not a clash, but the encounter between faith and secularism – has also just a central point in the Spanish culture. In this sense, I thought of all the major Western countries, but particularly to Spain.”
Faith, Reason and Art. “You know that I insist a lot on the relationship between faith and reason, that faith and the Christian faith, has its own identity only in the openness to reason and that reason is itself if it transcends to the faith. But equally important is the relationship between faith and art, for truth, purpose, goal of reason is expressed in the beauty and gets herself in beauty, it feels like truth. So where is the truth to be born beauty, where the human being is done correctly, good, expresses itself in beauty. The relationship between truth and beauty are inseparable, and therefore we need beauty.”
On asked about his predilection for Spain, the pope answered, “Of course it is a sign of love. You could say it’s a coincidence that I come three times in Spain. The first, the largest international gathering of families, in Valencia: how could the Pope be absent, if the families of the world meet? World Youth Day next year, meeting the youth of the world in Madrid, and the Pope can not be absent on this occasion. And finally, we have the Holy Year of St. James, we have the consecration, after more than one hundred years of work, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, how could it not be but the Pope [to bless it]?
To date Pope made pilgrimages to the following pilgrim centres: Marktl, Tittmoning, Aschau, Traunstein, Munich, Freising, Bonn, Münster, Tübingen, Regensburg, Munich, Rome and Santiago de Compostela.