Pope: I have come here to meet the young people committed to Christ searching for the truth
» 08/18/2011 14:24
VATICAN – WYD
Upon his arrival in Spain, Benedict XVI greets the Royalty and explains the reasons for his being in Madrid and why young people are there. “It is an immense joy for me to listen to them.” WYD, an economic boost to the country, but also ” a message of hope like a pure and youthful breeze, with rejuvenating scents which fill us with confidence before the future of the Church and the world.” Building a society with respect and tolerance.
Madrid (AsiaNews) – ” I have come here to meet thousands of young people from all over the world, Catholics committed to Christ searching for the truth that will give real meaning to their existence”: Benedict XVI immediately clarified the reasons for his trip to Spain in his first speech to the Spanish authorities. King Juan Carlos, leaning on a crutch, and his wife Queen Sofia were there to welcome their guest just below the aircraft steps.
The pope greeted them with affection and like old friends, having already come to Spain to Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona in November 2010. But his audience is the young people, even if a group of them were held at a distance far beyond the barriers.
And he poses the question : ” Why has this multitude of young people come to Madrid? While they themselves should give the reply, it may be supposed that they wish to hear the word of God, as the motto for this World Youth Day proposed to them, in such a way that, rooted and built upon Christ, they may manifest the strength of their faith. ”
“Many of them – he added – have heard the voice of God, perhaps only as a little whisper, which has led them to search for him more diligently and to share with others the experience of the force which he has in their lives. 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 banalization 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 and reasons to hope, unrestrained before their highest ideals, which will motivate their generous commitment to build a society where human dignity and true brotherhood are respected. ”
“That is why – he explains – it gives me great joy to listen to them, pray with them and celebrate the Eucharist with them”.
Controversy is raging in the Spanish media about the futility of this WYD, the waste of resources in this time of economic crisis, while 45% of Spanish youth are unemployed. Yesterday there was even a demonstration against the Pope’s arrival by some ‘indignados’ and secularist groups.
One answer has already come from the organizers, who say that the costs of World Youth Day are all covered by private sponsors and benefactors. Also – they point out – the coming of more than one million young people to Madrid means consumption of more than 100 million euros. From this point of view WYD is helping the Spanish economy.
The Pope goes further: “The World Youth Day brings a message of hope like a pure and youthful breeze, with rejuvenating scents which fill us with confidence before the future of the Church and the world ”
And almost as an invitation to look beyond this provincialism, Benedict XVI lists the difficulties of young people around the world: ” Of course, there is no lack of difficulties. There are tensions and ongoing conflicts all over the world, even to the shedding of blood. Justice and the unique value of the human person are easily surrendered to selfish, material and ideological interests. Nature and the environment, created by God with so much love, are not respected. Moreover, many young people look worriedly to the future, as they search for work, or because they have lost their job or because the one they have is precarious or uncertain. There are others who need help either to avoid drugs or to recover from their use. There are even some who, because of their faith in Christ, suffer discrimination which leads to contempt and persecution, open or hidden, which they endure in various regions and countries. They are harassed to give him up, depriving them of the signs of his presence in public life, not allowing even the mention of his holy name”.
He adds: “But, with all my heart, I say again to you young people: let nothing and no one take away your peace; do not be ashamed of the Lord. He did not spare himself in becoming one like us and in experiencing our anguish so as to lift it up to God, and in this way he saved us”. When the pope asked the young people to ‘not to be ashamed of the Lord’, a loud and long applause erupted from the area of young people.
“In this regard ,- he added – the young followers of Jesus must be aided to remain firm in the faith and to embrace the beautiful adventure of proclaiming it and witnessing to it openly with their lives. A witness that is courageous and full of love for their brothers and sisters, resolute and at the same time prudent, without hiding its Christian identity, living together with other legitimate choices in a spirit of respect while at the same time demanding due respect for one’s own choices “.
The theme of a clear witness in the secular world is very much alive in Spain and in Europe where there are attempts to erase the visible signs of faith, branding as “intolerant” those who claim to be Christian or simply “monotheistic”.
In his dialogue with journalists on the plane that took him to Madrid, Benedict XVI stated that “Searching for the Truth is not a form of intolerance” and ”true values do not need rules imposed by a certain force”. Only the true values”- said Benedict XVI – lead to the future, we should not fixate on a positivist reason: values, human rights, are recognized fundamental elements that put us in dialogue with others.”