Saturday, March 15, 2008

Pope Not Looking Just to Party at World Youth Day

Going to World Youth Day? Sounds like you better bring your knee pads. Pope B is stressing the importance of youth discovering the sense of "smallness before God" and coming "face to face with God's justice" in the Sacrament of Confession, and yes the word "Confession" is used (not Reconciliation). See:

I came into my young adult years (many years ago) at about the same time confessionals were being turned into storage closets and the word "sin" was being replaced with the likes of "failings" and "human weaknesses" which had the effect of lessening a sense of personal responsibility. As a consequence I went 23 years without going to confession. I was under the impression that I didn't need to.

Nothing in the language of my up to date religion courses (I went to Catholic school all the way through University) implied that confession was necessary. Along with "sin", the words "mercy", "pity", "reparation", "hell", "purgatory" and the like had also disappeared, not just from text books but from sermons, lectures, and general religious conversation. And while the mantra of "social justice" became the rallying chant of my age, the term "Divine Justice" all but disappeared.

I'm back to regular Confession thanks largely to it actually being made available on a regular basis (as opposed to making an appointment), but the sad part is what my life could have been had I not denied my soul for 23 years the forgiveness and grace Christ was waiting to give me in this Sacrament, not to mention the further damage that was done by my unworthy partaking in the Eucharist during this period. True, it may not have been completely my fault due to the lack of proper instruction, but the effect was the same: my soul was sick just the same.

But back to "World Youth Day". I'm thinking that this might be the last "World Youth Day". Not because the Pope is going to be too old for the next one, or that he is a party pooper, but because it is time to move on.

"World Youth Day" was a creation of John Paul II. In effect it was an "end run" around a generation (baby boomers mostly) who had become hardened, numbed, and obstinate by the licentiousness and rebellion that typified the life and times of that generation. JPII knew that the generation that had been wandering for 40 years in the post-Vatican II wilderness would not be the generation to cross into the promised land that Vatican II had envisioned.

It was an ingenious move and it worked. Today we are beginning to see great fruits from what has become the "John Paul II Generation": more vocations, increasing openness to life, closer adherence to the Magisterium, greater reverence for the mystery of the Eucharist, and more. In a sense, JPII, along with the voices of millions of young people, brought down the walls of what had become a geriatric Jericho and the Jordan has been crossed...or is being crossed. So why not continue on with something that is working?

Staying with our Exodus imagery, the whole point of God bringing the children of Israel (the youth) out of Egypt (the baby boom generation), was to establish His family. Thus I think it is time for "World Family Day". In fact, the members of the generation that JPII initially targeted are now raising families of their own. In other words, "mission accomplished". Now it's time to get onto the real business of the Church which is the nurturing of the Family itself and not just a segment of it.

The Church has always taught that it is the FAMILY that is the essential unit of society, the very image of the Trinity, God, Himself, present in the world. How great it would be to actually begin celebrating this eternal fact in universal concrete way. What a great sign that would be to the rest of the world.

1 comment:

  1. That's a really interesting way to look at the direction of World Youth Day. But I think Pope Benedict's love for JPII, and its stemming love for the youth, convinced him to keep it going. Hopefully there will be something new with that sort of magnitude for the family, no doubt Benedict would want it. Benedict's really bringing the youth back to the Church's roots, surely. Yay Pope!


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