Who was it who described World Youth Day as "a sort of rock festival in an ecclesial key, with the Pope as its main attraction," or "a huge spectacle, magnificent perhaps, but of no real significance for the question of faith”?
It was Pope Benedict XVI, actually. The Pontiff was not making those arguments himself, but summarizing the views of critics who complain about the international youth gatherings, so that he could respond to them.
Sandro Magister of L’Espresso notes that Pope Benedict has made a point of attending every World Youth Day during his pontificate. He will preside at 9 events during next week’s festivities in Madrid. Clearly the Pope has not been persuaded by the critics.