World Youth Day Winds Up

World Youth Day in Sydney wound up with a papal Mass at a racecourse outside the city. Estimated crowd was half a million souls. An aerial shot here records the event. I wonder if these events ever give our Protestant friends pause for thought. Is the Catholic Church that old, decrepit, legalistic dinosaur they pretend it is? Of course not. The Church is alive. The Church is young.

Was this just a huge youth rally, a kind of papal rock concert? Nah. The organizers of the sacrament of confession report that they had to set up extra places due to the crowds of young people making their confession. Is it a flash in the pan? The kids go back to their old lives as normal? Probably for some, but many others report that it was at a WYD that they discovered their vocation, gave their lives to God and turned around for good. It’s really Mass evangelism big time, with a dignity, power and depth that Evangelicals couldn’t dream of.
Link through the Whispers in the Loggia for full coverage of World Youth Day along with links to video feeds and full texts of the popes homilies and addresses. Charismatics might be specially interested in the Pope’s teaching on the Holy Spirit at the youth vigil on Saturday night and the closing Mass where he also celebrated the sacrament of confirmation.

  • Éstiel

    Thank you so much, Father, for that comprehensive link. My friend is on an Alaskan cruise where EWTN coverage doesn’t exist and the cost of internet time is very high. I’ve sent this to her laptop so she can enjoy it on her return next week.As for me, I saw it all *live* on EWTN. Other media gave it scant mention. Do we thank God enough for EWTN? During the very long tenure of our local priest (one of those whose liberalism and clericalism had us cut off from the Church), EWTN saved those of us who wanted to be saved. He’s gone now but our bishop is not, so we still depend on EWTN to know what a wonderful Pope we have–and for many of us–to know that, no, the Church has not “changed its mind” about women priests, divorce, contraception, etc., and to know that our local church is not some independent organization. No, indeed, we’re part of something that’s enormous, trans-geographical, trans-historical. EWTN has saved countless minds, hearts, and souls.

  • Confetior

    As an Australian Catholic (albeit not a young one) I observed to my parish priest after Sunday night Mass that I regarded WYD Sydney as the most important event in the Australian Church in a generation. He agreed with me and observed that he like many had underestimated its power and effect.My family and I hosted two young men from Wisconsin for the Days in the Diocese stage of the festivities and given we are some 6 hours from Sydney our Sunday mass the week before WYD with 300 pilgrims and a visiting University choir from the Philippines presented us with WYD in microcosm in our own parish. It was one of the most powerful religious experiences of my life and I would not have missed it for the world.

  • Daniel F.

    Unfortunately, the Anglican Diocese of Sydney made it clear several weeks ago that it wasn’t happy to have a bunch of Papists invading its territory. Archbishop Jensen was less than welcoming – it was a rather pathetic response from a one who considers himself a Christian.

  • Marcus Aurelius

    The ‘Whispers’ blog did a great job with coverage. The SSPX thing really threw me. It’s hard to a group claiming to be catholic, condemns world youth day. That, I believe, must be the sin of quenching the holy spirit. ‘You’ll know them by their fruits’. This is surely a sign that a final separation, sadly, is coming. I find it difficult not to relish the separation with people who would condemn WYD.

  • John6:54

    I suggest the Anglicans have their own world youth day in Sydney. Mr Jensen could maybe get 150 people to show up and they can pray for women clergy.As for the SSPXers against WYD they come off sounding like the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14

  • bernadette

    I suggest any young Anglicans join in us in Madrid in 2011.But, Obviously, be prepared to return home Catholics.You are all welcome. We need you.

  • Marcus Aurelius

    I shudder to think what SSPX WYD would look like. Here’s what I imagine:8AM self flagellation9AM sedevacantist round up10AM Quintis Potificus seminar on why vernacular liturgy is somewhat evil: Seminar will be in spoken Aramaic with occasional greek verbs11AM Adoration of Lefebvre’s tennis shoe and meditation on the unworthy pretender John Paul II12PM Lecture on the evils of Judaism1PM 20 ways the abuse crisis is a protestant conspiracy and how young people ought to be more obedient anyway what with all their sinfullness and masturbation2PM More self flagellation3PM-4PM hours of meditation on sin and our unworthy nature4PM – 5PM Why women cannot lead in the church, a seminar by Fr. Richus Minimus5PM – 7AM Sedvacantist Vigil: An evening of holy sleep deprivation while reading the Summa in Latin, even though you don’t understand the words. Brother Selfloathicus will pour ice water periodically on all suplicants.8AM Wake up with waterboardingNext day agenda: Repeat agenda from prior day until it sinks in. (We’re all just a bunch of unworthy, sinful maggots anyway)!

  • Kenneth P

    The lack of charity shown here to the SSPX is striking. Although many of them are probably blinded by the sin of pride, most of them are trying to be good Catholics. They could probably use some charitable fraternal correction, done in a loving way. This disdain shown to them is just ugly.

  • Marcus Aurelius

    Kenneth,I’m just a layman. Did you see what their bishop said about WYD? Did you read the articles Fr. L linked in here? I think my humor is rather appropriate for them. That is how they come across when they condemn world youth day.

  • Peter

    World Youth Day was HUGE! As a Catholic and Sydney resident I feel I ought to add some perspective to the comments here. Regarding Anglicans in Sydney: Archbishop Jenson and his brother, who is also a prominant Anglican theologian both calmly upheld the honest distinction between Protestants and Catholics and refused to be part of the eccumenical gestures built into WYD which is consistent with their own theological understanding of such events, even if we Catholics don’t see the big deal. Regarding the ‘women priests’ cheapshot, Jenson is one of the key leaders among the Anglicans rallying against woman priests, bishops and homosexual endorsements. He may be low-church evangelical, but he can’t be accused of being a representative of wishy-washy Anglicanism.I DID run into the President of the Lutheran Church of Australia, and the executive secretary of the Australian Council of Churches (also Lutheran) at the Papal arrival. As an ex Lutheran Minister it was a good chuckle to see them standing on chairs looking out for the Pope’s arrival. I wonder if they had to rush home and re-read Luther’s Treatise on Power and Primacy of the Pope?

  • james hastings

    Dear Dwight,Its so endearing when you write with such teary-eyed optimism. As one of your Protestant friends, I sincerely hope Sydney is not just a flash in the pan. I honestly hope young Catholics learn more about their faith and rejuvinate your denomination.I was there in 1982 when JPII came to the UK. In Scotland, the same sized crowds filled parks and football stadiums as they did this week in Australia. The young people at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh cheered so loudly and so long, JP had to wait smiling for ten minutes before he could actually speak.But today in 2008… brother who is a daily Mass, daily Rosary Catholic tells me in Scotland, the young are hardly at church. He is a primary teacher and says they simply don’t attend Mass unless its part of a school event. There are now so few priests, Saturday vigil Masses are being cancelled all over the place.I don’t write this in triumph. I want to see your denomination rediscover itself and fill its churches once more.But don’t get over-excited about flag waving in Sydney. They did that 25 years ago in the UK. It don’t last and its not a true reflection of the state of your denomination.By the way, next time you’re in the UK, I could take you to any of a dozen Protestant churches where 3,000-5,000 turn up every Sunday.James

  • Marcus Aurelius

    I think events like WYD are important. Such events rekindle or solidify the faith for so many.I think Jeff does an awesome job summarizing the state of the church and where so many of us are right now.His closing quote from Cardinal Martini is a zinger:There was a time when I dreamed of a church in poverty and humility, one that does not depend on the powers of this world. A church that gives space to people who think outside the box. A church that transmits courage and worth, especially to those who feel belittled or like sinners. A young Church. Today I no longer have those dreams. After 75 years I have decided to pray for the Church.

  • Éstiel

    Dear Marcus,I visited your “Jeff” site. This is not a criticism of anything Jeff says, but perhaps an additional, and a bit different, observation. As I’ve said before, if you go west far enough, you wind up east. I should add that the alternative is to fall off the edge entirely. Jeff’s stated goal of anti-polemics is admirable if not examined too closely, but the reality is that polemical thought and discussion is necessary and natural. What should be carefully avoided is not polemics but the tendency to take intellectual shortcuts via polemical labeling. (Sloth is a cardinal sin for a good reason.)So many writers these days, particularly cyber-writers, are, consciously or not, hampered by time-space limitations and consequently, their work exhibits the problems that trail the always-unsuccessful attempt to pack the cosmos into a page. This habit seems increasingly prevalent–in periodical essays as well as website posts. Perhaps it’s inherent in the way we live now, so fast-paced, you know. Coherence may be a casulty of modern life. But there is one more possibility, and it’s a more serious one: The human intellect is capable of only two functions–putting things together and separating things. It’s a common criticism these days to mutter about “context” but the opposite fallacy is just as serious: to put things together that do not belong together, thus arriving at mis-association errors. We can only synthesize and analyze, when all’s said and done, you know, so we should attempt to perform our limited functions at least correctly.