Via Media

Via Media

A Word With You

John Allen has an excellent WYD backgrounder today: why the gathering is important, and what to look for in terms of Benedict’s meetings and talks during the event:

Third, youth are critical to a pope’s capacity to lift the church out of the ideological ruts of a given era. Adults tend to become locked in debates over a limited set of issues, recycling those arguments in endless combinations. In the 16th and 17th centuries, for example, Jesuits and Dominicans clashed over competing theories of grace; in the 19th century, Catholic democrats and Catholic traditionalists locked horns over the “Roman question”; today, “liberals” and “conservatives” go at one another over sexuality, dissent, and the authority of the pope. Sometimes resolution of these debates is less a matter of victory for one side, than the capacity to see the entire matter in a new light. That’s what young Catholics have to offer – a fresh perspective, not defined by the categories of the past. In order for that to work, young people have to be willing to invest their energy and creativity in the church. World Youth Day has the capacity to awaken such passion and commitment.


If Benedict XVI wants to challenge the dictatorship of relativism in the West, he’s going to need motivated, well-formed youth, and there’s no place like World Youth Day to assemble his team. The extent to which Benedict XVI succeeds in connecting with the youth who assemble to hear him in Cologne, therefore, should tell us a great deal about where his pontificate is headed.

John also links to what looks to be an invaluable resource – a press pool site of freelance journalists covering the event

Comments read comments(8)
post a comment

posted August 12, 2005 at 12:06 pm

I’m 36 so I guess I really don’t fall into the “Catholic youth” category anymore. But for all the enthusiasm of today’s Catholic youth and great graces God is bestowing on young people who seek Him, I’m not necessarily sure it’s going to impact the Church much.
I don’t mean this to be cynical, but the best way I can put it is young people, from my limited perspective, have great zeal for the sacraments, liturgy, helping the poor and the Magisterial teaching of the Church, but really have no ambition to “change the Church.” Most see the Church as good and holy, but kinda like a corporation, a necessary apparatus, but controlled by group-think and politics. It’s why young people might vote, but have no interest in politics because our political machinery has failed to address issues facing real people.
It’s the same with the Church. The irony is while many young embrace the sacraments, devotion to Mary, the Rosary and many aspects of the faith, they see the Church, at least in at the Bishopric level, as somewhat inept and hidebound. We can’t see why Bishops issue ‘statements’ about pro-abortion politicians when these people should be basically kicked out. The abuse scandal in the Church is no different than WorldCom execs cooking the books, it’s basically a lack of control and unwillingness of the Bishops to take responsibility for bad decisions.
No one I’ve met could be labeled a “dissenter”, quite the opposite. But it’s painfully obvious that the Church in the U.S. needs a shakeup. We saw JPII begin to address this with his writings, and now hope B16 will with actions. That being said, young people in the U.S. realize, just as with our political parties, that trying to change the system is futile since entrenched powers fill fight one tooth and nail, so the best course of action is to respectfully ignore the system. It’s this sort of respectful apathy is the reason behind devotion to saints such as St. Francis, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Anthony of the Desert and others, people who knew the church needed change and sought out a path that respected the Church as the body of Christ, but knew that the human element was flawed and needed repair. But this repair will have to come from outside, not within.

report abuse


posted August 12, 2005 at 12:47 pm

I don’t think the youth have to “change the Church” in order to “change the Church”. Institutional reforms must be carried out by Bishops. But, as Pope Benedict has pointed out in the past, the Church does not need managers, she needs Saints. The youth are “changing” the Church precisely by accepting their vocation to Sainthood, and taking up the call issued by John Paul II at WYD in 1993:
“Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places, like the first Apostles who preached Christ and the Good News of salvation in the squares of cities, towns and villages. This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel. It is the time to preach it from the rooftops. Do not be afraid to break out of comfortable and routine modes of living, in order to take up the challenge of making Christ known in the modern ‘metropolis’. It is you who must ‘go out into the byroads’ and invite everyone you meet to the banquet which God has prepared for his people. The Gospel must not be kept hidden because of fear or indifference. It was never meant to be hidden away in private. It has to be put on a stand so that people may see its light and give praise to our heavenly Father.”

report abuse

Daniel W

posted August 12, 2005 at 1:24 pm

In addition to what Jason said, another point to keep in mind is the fact that the bishops of the future (in 30-40 years) will be composed of the youth of today…

report abuse


posted August 12, 2005 at 5:51 pm

Now it dawns on my why the Pope won’t waste much if any more time on me… I’m considered hopelessly hidebound and unreachable. Nice.

report abuse

David C

posted August 12, 2005 at 10:10 pm

I took a quick look at the press website Mr. Allen suggested. Its clearly not going to be covering things from a Catholic point of view. One of its recent articles was about the group “Condoms for Catholics”.

report abuse


posted August 13, 2005 at 1:04 am

“Institutional reforms must be carried out by Bishops.”
Sadly, they seem to lack the motivation to do so.
But the purpose of living a life of greater holiness is not to transform the Church (putting up booths on the mountaintop, as it were) but to transform the world.

report abuse


posted August 13, 2005 at 8:22 am

IT’s a pool of freelancers – no one ever said it was “from a Catholic perspective.” And the condoms 4 Catholics thing, an “outreach” of Catholics for a Free Choice, has been in the news all week, everywhere.

report abuse


posted August 13, 2005 at 12:12 pm

Amy: There the “Spirit of World Youth Day” from the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis:

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

There is nothing I shall want
A couple of weeks ago, a memorial Mass for Michael was held here in Birmingham at the Cathedral. The bishop presided and offered a very nice, even charming homily in which he first focused on the Scripture readings of the day, and then turned to ...

posted 9:24:16am Mar. 05, 2009 | read full post »

Revolutionary Road - Is it just me?
Why am I the only person I know..or even "know" in the Internet sense of "knowing"  - who didn't hate it? I didn't love it, either. There was a lot wrong with it. Weak characterization. Miscasting. Anvil-wielding mentally ill prophets.But ...

posted 9:45:04pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Books for Lent
No, I'm not going to ask you about your Lenten reading lists...although I might.Not today, though. This post is about giving books to others. For Lent, and a long time after that. You know how it goes during Lent: Prayer, Fasting and ...

posted 9:22:07pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Why Via Media
How about....because I'm lame and hate thinking up titles to things? No? about...St. Benedict? Yes, yes, I know the association with Anglicanism. That wasn't invovled in my purpose in naming the joint, but if draws some Googling ...

posted 8:54:17pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Brave Heart?
I don't know about you, but one of effects of childbirth on me was a compulsion to spill the details. All of them.The whole thing was fascinating to me, so of course I assumed everyone else should be fascinated as well in the recounting of every ...

posted 10:19:45pm Mar. 03, 2009 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.