MADRID -- Pope Benedict XVI warned yesterday at the start of a visit to crisis-hit Spain that Europe won't be able to emerge from its economic woes unless it realizes that economic policy cannot be guided by a profit-driven mentality alone.
He said the continent must take into account ethical considerations that look out for the common good.
Benedict made the comments as he traveled to Spain's capital for the Catholic Church's World Youth Day, the festival held once very three years that is expected to draw 1 million young people from 193 countries for a week of bonding, praying and partying in Madrid's streets -- normally deserted in August.
Hundreds of thousands of them lined Madrid's main boulevards to welcome the pontiff as he arrived for a four-day visit, a day after a protest against his trip turned violent. The screaming, sun-baked fans threw confetti on his car as he entered Madrid's Plaza de Cibeles for his official welcome ceremony last night.
Benedict urged the crowd flying flags from around the world to root their lives in Christ and resist the temptation to follow secular trends, such as euthanasia and abortion, saying they lead to nothing since they don't lead to God.
"Indeed, there are many who, creating their own gods, believe they need no roots or foundations other than themselves," he warned. "They take it upon themselves to decide what is true or not, what is good and evil, what is just and unjust; who should live and who can be sacrificed in the interests of other preferences."
He drew laughter and cheers when he briefly donned a sombrero given to him by a young man, then a flower lei by a woman.