Pope Benedict XVI lamented Friday what he called modern society’s “amnesia” about God as he traveled to a famed Spanish monastery on the second day of his four-day visit for the church’s world youth festival.

Several hundred young nuns cheered, waved flags and performed the “wave” at El Escorial monastery as they waited for Benedict inside a courtyard of the 16th-century complex, a UNESCO world heritage site about 30 miles (50 kilometers) northwest of the capital.

Benedict told them their decisions to dedicate their lives to their faith was a potent message in today’s increasingly secular world.

“This is all the more important today when we see a certain eclipse of God taking place, a kind of amnesia which albeit not an outright rejection of Christianity is nonetheless a denial of the treasure of our faith, a denial that could lead to the loss of our deepest identity,” he said.

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