INSIDE THIS ISSUE
SIX PAGES OF REPORTS , PHOTOS AND FULL TEXTS FROM WORLD YOUTH DAY IN MADRID
August 26 2011 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)
‘We are the youth of the Pope’
The Popemobile carrying Benedict XVI makes its way through a vast throng of pilgrims as he arrives to celebrate the World Youth Day closing Mass
CNS Photo/Sergio Perez, Reuters
FROM MADELEINE TEAHAN IN MADRID
UP TO two million pilgrims gathered in Madrid on Sunday morning for Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI, marking the culmination of the 26th World Youth Day.
The Mass took place at Cuatro Vientos airbase which was brimming with pilgrims, singing, dancing and chanting “Esta es la juventud del Papa” (“We are the youth of the Pope”).
During his homily Pope Benedict told them: “Christ cannot be separated from the Church any more than the head can be separated from the body.”
He continued: “Let me urge you to strengthen this faith which has been handed down to us from the time of the Apostles. Make Christ, the Son of God, the centre of your life. But let me also remind you that following Jesus in faith means walking at his side in the communion of the Church. We cannot follow Jesus on our own. Anyone who would be tempted to do so ‘on his own’, or to approach the life of faith with the kind of individualism so prevalent today, will risk never truly encountering Jesus, or will end up following a counterfeit Jesus.”
The majority of pilgrims began their journey to the airbase on Saturday morning with a five-mile walk across the capital in the blistering heat to arrive in time for an evening vigil with the Pope. It was so hot that locals sprayed grateful pilgrims with water from their balconies as they passed their houses and firemen soaked them with hosepipes as they arrived laughing and singing.
As the Pope led the prayer vigil the sky blackened and a fierce storm broke out with bucketing rain and thunder and lightning. Pilgrims, most of whom planned to sleep outside that night, rushed to cover their belongings and food parcels, while the Pope’s skull cap blew off and assistants tried to shelter him with white umbrellas.
The vigil was postponed for 20 minutes while some pilgrims sheltered under tarpaulin blankets praying for calm and Eucharistic Adoration tents collapsed, injuring seven pilgrims who were taken to hospital. When the storm eased Pope Benedict congratulated the pilgrims for their fortitude: “Thank you for your joy and endurance,” he said. “Your strength is greater than the rain.”
Although the vigil was consequently cut short, Pope Benedict XVI then changed into a golden mitre and humeral veil and led Eucharistic Adoration while more than a million pilgrims knelt down to adore the Blessed Sacrament.
Pope Benedict touched down in
Madrid on Thursday and was welcomed by King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia. In his opening address he said that he had come as the Successor of Peter to confirm the young in their faith.
He said: “The discovery of the living God inspires young people and opens their eyes to the challenges of the world in which they live, with its possibilities and limitations. They see the prevailing superficiality, consumerism and hedonism, the widespread banalisation of sexuality, the lack of solidarity, the corruption. They know that without God it would be hard to confront these challenges and to be truly happy, and thus pouring out their enthusiasm in the attainment of an authentic life. But, with God beside them, they will possess light to walk by.”
During the Pope’s visit he also addressed professors, religious women and seminarians. At a Mass for seminarians Benedict XVI told the congregation to live their formation with joy, humility and “radical fidelity to the Gospel”.
He said: “Approach the priesthood only if you are firmly convinced that God is calling you to be his ministers.” Reports: Pages 2-7 Catholic Life: Page 10 Jack Valero: Page 12 Editorial comment: Page 13 Stuart Reid: Page 20
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A D H E 2 0 1 1
Riots show that Britain has lost its Christianity, says Bishop Roche
BY DAVID V BARRETT
THE OUTBREAK of rioting in Britain has arisen from the country losing its Christianity, Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds has said.
In an interview on Vatican Radio Bishop Roche contrasted the thousands of young people he had seen in a World Youth Day sports arena for catechesis with the youth on innercity streets in Britain.
“There was so much joy and exuberance and high-spiritedness amongst the young people that it would be very difficult to calm them down to hear the catechesis. But as soon as the speakers started their catechesis there was absolute quiet,” he said from Madrid, where he had travelled with 90 young people from his diocese.
“There’s an enormous thirst amongst these young people for the truth. They applauded very small phrases that were highly significant – ‘Don’t let your faith die’ – and they rose to that. The faith is very much alive in their hearts. They have tremendous generosity, and they have an uncluttered insight into truth and into real values.”
Bishop Roche was then asked about rioting in Britain.
He said: “I think it’s the result, in no small part, of the consumerist society. Britain has lost its sense of values. The Prime Minister has spoken about that. In fact, it’s lost its Christianity. Our country was built and based on Christianity: our laws were built and based on the law of God. And once you turn your back on that and try to create values in a sort of humanistic context, all you’re getting is total and utter confusion. So the youngsters in Tottenham and other parts of Britain who have been resorting to violence, I believe, are really very unhappy, disenchanted deep within themselves and really in need of God.”
The bishop said he was sad that such a positive celebration by the young was being generally ignored by the media.
Catholic preaching is no joke, says comic BY ED WEST
THE QUALITY of Catholic preaching is poor, according to comedian Frank Skinner.
“I know it’s a tough job,” he said, “and Catholic priests get enough stick as it is without Catholics joining in, but there are some basic errors made.”
He told the Church Times, a leading Anglican newspaper, that “you often hear four or five ideas, and in the end you’re lost”.
“All you want is one thought to take away for the next six days, and very rarely does that happen,” he said.
The West Midlands comic added: “I look around when a homily starts, and I see people looking away; some will start reading the notices. They don’t even give it a chance, they are so certain it’s going to be dull.”
Friars seek unusual punishment for theft FROM NICK PISA IN ROME
FRIARS fed up with the repeated theft of Bibles from their church have invoked divine retribution – by praying for the culprits to suffer diarrhoea.
Franciscans have posted a notice at the entrance of the historic San Salvatore church in Florence, Italy, which reads: “We pray to the Lord that these thieves are struck down by a strong case of diarrhoea and that this will be a stimulus for them not to steal.”
A spokesman for the friars said: “Admittedly the language is rather strong and perhaps not what one would associate with a religious order but enough is enough. We have lost countless Bibles from the church over the last few weeks and we are convinced they are being given as gifts.”
Peter Stanford Why I still miss Lord Longford PAGE 9
Mary Kenny Tracey Emin’s subtle pro-life message PAGE 12
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