Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Holy Father's Goals for World Youth Day

The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has expressed his wishes that the faithful youth attending WYD 2008 in Sydney, Australia grab hold of three main truths. Zenit.org reports that "The Holy Father presents three objectives to the young people, both those who will be in Sydney and those who are unable to attend. (1) He invites them to "recognize the true identity of the Spirit by listening to God's word in the revelation of the Bible." (2) He suggests they "learn about his continuous and active presence in the life of the Church, in particular rediscovering that the Holy Spirit is the 'soul,' the life-giving breath of the Christian life, thanks to the Christian sacraments of initiation -- baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist." (3) Finally, he exhorts them to "deepen their understanding of Jesus and at the same time to implement the Gospel at the dawn of the third millennium."

These are especially important objectives, particularly number two, which emphasizes the active presence of the Spirit in and through the Church and calls youth to rediscover the timeless doctrine that the Spirit is the very soul of the Church, particularly through the sacraments. This is so important because too many today see the Church as a purely political institution, where changes and statements can be interpreted politically according to a seeking after power. Reaffriming the Holy Spirit as the "soul" of the Christian life and learning about His active presence in the Church helps us to get away from that tired old model of a "political" Church and refocus our minds on three facts:

1) It is primarily through the Church that we encounter Christ through His Spirit.

2) In being the soul of the Church and the source of the sacraments' power, the Spirit causes the Church to be both a natural and a supernatural entity, whose workings and ends cannot be explained in merely natural terms.

3) Understanding the Church's mission and teachings as proceeding from the Spirit who guides her reinforces our understanding that the Church's dogmas and disciplines come not from men, but from the Spirit of Christ, Who was given to the Church that He might sanctify her.

Let us all pray to the Holy Spirit for a fruitful World Youth Day. Hopefully, Benedict will celebrate the WYD Mass according to the Missal of Bl. John XXIII and will not repeat some of the shameful liturgical abuses that often occurred during John Paul II's WYD Masses.

Click here to read the Zenit article on Benedict's statements.

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