Pope Says Statistics Might Miss It, But Youth Meeting Is Important for Humanity’s Future
(Zenit.org).- There will not be a great transformation in the Church starting tomorrow, admits Benedict XVI. Though there are a half million young Catholics gathered in Madrid to celebrate World Youth Day with the Pope, the “seeds” of this experience are like the seeds of the Gospel — part is lost.
But, the Holy Father said during a press conference on the papal plane in flight to Madrid, for many people, World Youth Day will be the “beginning of a friendship with God and with others.” It will open them to a “universality of thought” and make them aware of a “common responsibility.” So these days do give much fruit: “God’s sowing is always silent; it does not appear in the statistics. … And we trust in this silent growth, and we are certain that, although the statistics do not say much about it, the Lord’s seed really grows.”
The Bishop of Rome answered questions ranging from how truth relates to multiculturalism, to how to give hope to young people overshadowed by a worldwide economic crisis. He was quick to affirm that World Youth Day was a divine inspiration given to his predecessor, Blessed John Paul II.
“I would say that these WYDs are a sign, a cascade of light — they give visibility to the faith, visibility to the presence of God in the world, and thus give the courage to be believers,” he said. “Often, believers feel isolated in this world, somewhat lost. Here they see that they are not alone, that there is a great network of faith, a great community of believers in the world.”
The Pope noted how World Youth Day fosters friendships that cross the borders of cultures and countries. “The birth of a universal network of friendship that unites the world with God is an important reality for the future of humanity,” he affirmed, “for the life of humanity today.”
He recommended seeing WYD as a sign and part of a great journey. “It creates friendships, opens borders, makes visible that it is beautiful to be with God, that God is with us,” he said. And, “in this connection, we wish to continue with this great idea of Blessed Pope John Paul II.”
Truth and freedom
Benedict XVI reiterated one of his hallmark teachings when he was asked about the relationship between truth and multiculturalism.
The Pope noted that one of the great debates linked to Christianity today regards monotheism and an incapacity for dialogue with others.
“It is true that in history there have been abuses, both of the concept of truth as well as the concept of monotheism,” he said. “There have been abuses, but the reality is totally different, as truth is only accessible in liberty.”
He explained that a behavior can be imposed with violence, but truth cannot. “Truth opens only to free consent and, for this reason, liberty and truth are united intimately, one is condition of the other.”
Separating truth from ethics and from man’s great problems, the Pontiff warned, leads to “exposing man to the will of those who have power.”
“We must always be in search of truth, of values,” he affirmed. “We have fundamental human rights. These fundamental rights are known and recognized and, in fact, this puts us in dialogue with one another. Truth as such is open-minded, as it seeks to know better, to understand better, and it does so in dialogue with others. Thus, to seek truth and man’s dignity is the best defense of liberty.”
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