Pope ends visit with call to faithful to "not follow Jesus alone"

Sunday Mass at Cuatro Vientos airfield draws 1.5 million people, according to World Youth Day organizers

With one last wave from the steps of a specially chartered Iberia plane, Pope Benedict XVI ended his official visit to Spain on Sunday, flying to Italy just after 7pm from Madrid's Barajas airport.

The pontiff's four-day visit was an integral part of World Youth Day (WYD), which officially comes to an end on Tuesday after a week of activities for young Catholics from around the globe. A special Mass held by the pope on Sunday morning brought together 1.5 million people at the Cuatro Vientos airfield in the south of Madrid, according to the event's organizers.

The night before, a special address by Benedict XVI at the airfield was cut short by a storm, which saw several people injured due to strong winds that brought down a number of tents at the huge site.

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"You cannot follow Jesus alone," the pope told the crowds during Sunday's Mass. "He who gives in to the temptation of going off alone runs the risk of never finding Jesus Christ, or of following a false idol."

It was also announced on Sunday that the next World Youth Day would be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The event will take place in 2013 rather than the year after, as planned, in order not to clash with the World Cup.

Meanwhile, tensions continued to run high throughout the remainder of the pope's visit, after violence broke out between the police and protestors on Wednesday during a secular demonstration in Madrid against the cost to the public purse of Benedict XVI's stay. Over the weekend, a number of videos appeared via the social networks showing riot police singling out members of the public on the streets and doling out beatings with batons.

After initially defending the actions of the police, the ruling Socialists later announced that an investigation would be launched into the behavior of officers.

A number of politicians from the conservative Popular Party, however, called for investigations into whether pilgrims from WYD had suffered abuse at the hands of the protestors.

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