I think it’s fair to say that World Youth Day took place in the shadow of the attacks in France earlier last week. One of my friends who was at World Youth Day told me that she had learned about the martyrdom of Fr Jacques Hamel directly from Fr Thomas Rosica (Salt and Light TV) shortly before her sound check for a Mercy Center mass. Another hinted in a public post on Facebook that there was talk that the pilgrims in Kraków could not be guaranteed safety from a Daesh attack, to which she responded that they had not only prayed for the victims of the France attack and for their perpetrators, but more importantly:
We will not be afraid. We will not go home. We will not hide. We will continue to pray for peace, for a spirit of forgiveness and fraternity, for our communities, and for your personal intentions, and bring them to the foot of the cross, a sign of God’s love and mercy, who loves each of us despite our weakness.
Even the Bishop of Rome’s agenda in Poland seemed to be overshadowed by these attacks. Much has been made by my colleagues such as Sam Rocha (with clarification here) and Keith Michael Estrada over Francis’s in-flight pre-World Youth Day assertion that it is not Islam that is to blame for such terrorism, but capital – a point that has seriously rubbed Rod Dreher the wrong way (‘Is this just the usual progressive Catholic see-no-evil dingbattery, or is there something else happening here?’).
I think there’s something else happening here.