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God cannot be used to justify fanaticism: Pope

REGENSBURG, Germany – Pope Benedict held an open air mass on Tuesday in the town where he had hoped to spend his retirement and rejected the use of God’s name to justify hatred and fanaticism. Speaking to several hundred thousand people gathered in a field outside this Bavarian city, he also re-stated his position that science could not provide an explanation of the origins of the world that would exclude God’s role. The 79-year Pope, looking fit and wearing gold and white vestments on the fourth day of his trip home, celebrated mass from a huge altar platform topped by a white canopy. An enthusiastic crowd estimated by police at more than 260,000 waved yellow and white Vatican flags as the Pope arrived. Organizers had expected up to 350,000 people.

The Pope said that Christians believed in a loving God who showed himself to the world in the person of Jesus Christ.

Christians had learned to recognize “the ways that God’s image can be destroyed by hatred and fanaticism,” he said.

“It is important to state clearly the God in whom we believe and to proclaim confidently that this God has a human face.”

The Pope did not name any religion but in the past he has called on Muslim leaders to help defeat terrorism by teaching that violence could not be used in God’s name.