Pope John Paul II, on the second day of a visit to Turin Saturday, told thousands of young Christians in the city's soccer stadium to shun "the common fashion of equating love with sex."
The pope's address to some 40,000 young men and women in the city stadium highlighted a day in which he also beatified a Chilean girl who died of tuberculosis in Argentina in 1904 at the age of 12 after persuading her mother to convert to Christianity.John Paul's visit to industrial Turin also marked the centenary of the death of Saint Giovanni Bosco, who founded the Society of St. Francis of Sales, known as the Salesian Order, in Turin in 1854.
The saint, generally called Don Bosco, dedicated most of his life to the welfare of youth and most of the pope's encounters during the three-day visit centered on young men and women connected with the Salesian Order.
The trip was the 78th John Paul has made to various regions of Italy since he was elected pope in October 1978. It precedes a tour of five nations of southern Africa the pope will make Sept. 10-19.
At the city soccer stadium Saturday evening, the pope answered questions about Christian life collected by the Salesian order earlier this year from 20,000 young people. Police estimated twice that number in his audience Saturday.
One question put to the pope asked him to comment on what love means for young people disturbed by "exasperated pleasure-seeking, spreading pornography and the permissive mentality."
"To love authentically, as Christians," the pope said, "means so often today to go against the current, to be genuine people who call evil, evil and good, good and who have the courage to go against the common fashion of equating love with sex.
"To love as Christians is this miracle: To anchor oneself to God through the person of Christ and give oneself to others in an attitude of willingness, welcoming and help," he said.