Via Media

Via Media

After Cologne

posted by awelborn

The remarkable lessons of Professor Ratzinger – Sandro Magister’s analysis.

Benedict XVI spoke the latter of these words at the culmination of the nocturnal vigil in Marienfeld, before an altar beneath a starry sky. And then, all of a sudden, he added: “Dear friends, this is not a distant story that took place long ago. It is with us now. Here in the sacred Host he is present before us and in our midst. […] He is present now as he was then in Bethlehem. He invites us to that inner pilgrimage which is called adoration.” Silence. The pope blessed the crowd with the host and quickly withdrew into the shadows, without passing through the crowd. He would return the next morning for the Mass, to repeat that it is only through God and the Eucharist that true revolution comes to the world. And he would give two pieces of advice to the young people: that they attend Sunday Mass and study the catechism.

The television news coverage missed the most characteristic features of the meeting. The three mornings of catechesis in 270 groups, in churches and stadiums in Cologne and the surrounding area, preached by the cardinals and bishops spurred on by the new pope. The ceaseless pilgrimage toward the cathedral, to the relics of the Magi. The many celebrations of the Stations of the Cross on Friday evening. The myriads of sacramental confessions in all languages. The prayer in the churches, day and night: like at Saint Agnes Church in Cologne, under the direction of the ecumenical community of Taizé, the forerunner of these international meetings of faith for young people. The blossoming of love among young men and women, but also of vocations to the priesthood and religious life. And to the standard agenda of the World Youth Days, Benedict XVI added a meeting with seminarians, the priests of tomorrow’s Church.

A rather lovely summation. The piece concludes with thoughts on the supposed, hoped-for, rumored meeting with the Orthodox on 11/30 in Instanbul….

Comments read comments(18)
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Barb N

posted August 25, 2005 at 9:08 am

It is lovely….
Of course, it loses a bit of that poignancy when I recall that Cardinal Mahoney was one of the catechists!

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Dev Thakur

posted August 25, 2005 at 10:36 am

Anyone know what he spoke about?

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thomas tucker

posted August 25, 2005 at 10:47 am

Wow. That account of the vigil at Marienfeld sends shivers down my spine. I wish I had been there. I’ll be remembering this at the consecration when I go to Mass this weekend.

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posted August 25, 2005 at 10:49 am

I swear that we must have some of the least forgiving people in the world within the Church.

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posted August 25, 2005 at 11:27 am

Any hint as to what you are talking about?

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posted August 25, 2005 at 11:41 am

My daughter just got back from WYD last night and she reported of a great experience, but:
1) Apparently the Germas were not very happy about this event and the organization was not typically german: shortages of food, disorganization at the venue and general display of unhappiness with the “invasion”
2) Many of the catechetical sessions were given in German to people who did not speak german, so that whatever was said was lost. This applies also to the Pope’s remarks. The translations provided via radio apparently were not very good.
This is not to throw cold water on the event, which she found very uplifting and cosntructive, just to provide a different perspective from one of the non VIP participants.

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john k

posted August 25, 2005 at 12:23 pm

Perhaps Latin will make a comeback to ameliorate some of the communication problems when large groups of Catholics convene: a universal language for the universal Church (just like in the old days). Just wishful thinking but you never know.

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posted August 25, 2005 at 1:15 pm

The organisation was certainly less than I would have expected from the super-efficient Germans: the transport system was overloaded and information was hard to come by. That said, I found all of the German people welcoming and good-humoured (including the protestant man who tried to evangelise us on the train!).
At the Marienfeld, the organisers were constantly (and rather excessively) announcing “Please remove all pegs from the ground. This seriously endangers your life.” It all added to the fun!
I found the radio-translations were fine (much better than at many other events I have attended where simultaneous translation has been promised and failed to materialise).
The catechesis events earlier in the week were (theoretically) organised in language groups. There were plenty of sites hosting events in English. I attended a fantastic catechesis given by Cardinal George.
But the highlight of the week was definitely the moment when hundreds of thousands of us knelt on muddy ground in the darkness to adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. That moment was worth hours of catechesis!

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Aristotle A. Esguerra

posted August 25, 2005 at 1:29 pm

“Please remove all pegs from the ground. This seriously endangers your life.”
That got more than its fair share of mileage on our bus ride from Dusseldorf to Frankfurt Main Airport. :-)
Still, his admonition about not climbing the towers was reasonable. Plus he seemed sincere, if overemphatic.

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posted August 25, 2005 at 2:12 pm

I forgot my absolute favourite announcement: “Please do not drink the water from the candle basins. This is NO drinking water”.

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Aristotle A. Esguerra

posted August 25, 2005 at 2:37 pm

“Thank you for your cooperation” was a great coda. That got a lot of mileage on the bus ride, too.

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Aristotle A. Esguerra

posted August 25, 2005 at 3:09 pm

Back to the topic at hand:
The text of the Pope’s messages may be found here:
His remarks at the vigil, punctuated by the Benediction…well, you had to be there.

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posted August 25, 2005 at 4:06 pm

It is very possible that some responsibility for the minor problems lied with the local group, meaning the parish group that my daughter joined. Probably they did not do their homework and failed to identify the proper ways to move around the event.
I am also glad to hear that the poor impression of the cooperation of the Germans was not shared by others. I have a great respect for them and it is nice to know that other experiences were very positive.

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T. Chan

posted August 25, 2005 at 4:45 pm

Maybe the bishops will do something as pastors and bring reform to their dioceses, so that the language problem wouldn’t come up in the first place (as the youth, and everyone else, would find solid instruction and worship in their own diocese).

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T. Chan

posted August 25, 2005 at 4:48 pm

“And not everything was in keeping with Ratzinger’s tendencies. The Masses, the vespers, and the Eucharistic benedictions celebrated with the trendy popular music choirs, rock guitars, Indian dances, African tambourines, and Andean flutes were the object of severe reprimands from him in the past, when he was a theologian and cardinal.”
I do wonder what the Holy Father’s reaction was to this.

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posted August 25, 2005 at 5:27 pm

The announcement was more like, “Thank you for your coperation!” (Notice the missing second “o”.) There was a guy in our group who could mimic the announcements perfectly. I still giggle just thinking about it…
By the way, I believe that the biggest planning snafus for the Germans were the transportation, the whole three cities thing, and the difficulties getting out of Marienfeld. I was completely satisfied with my catechesis experiences. I had Cardinal Napier from South Africa one day and Archbishop Dolan from Milwaukee another day. Both men were amazing!

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Holy Fool

posted August 25, 2005 at 10:45 pm

Magister on Benedict post WYD

Hat tip to Amy Welborn.
Sandro Magister reflects on the Pope here!
He illustrates what the Reasonable MSM missed. Their lack of comprehension has led them away from the real story of WYD: the renewal of the Church’s commitment to worship Christ…

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A Holy Fool

posted August 25, 2005 at 10:49 pm

Mr. Magister does an excellent job of presenting the real story of WYD…and why the MSM couldn’t get it!

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