The Holy Father’s address to young people – updates coming

I simply have to absorb this for a while.

What an amazing address. Simply astonishing.

Little by little I am adding comments

I am skipping around a bit and adding and editing, so come back and recheck this with me. This is for me a work in progress.

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My emphases and comments.
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Your Eminence,

Dear Brother Bishops,

Dear Young Friends,

Proclaim the Lord Christ and always have your answer ready for people who ask the reason for the hope that is within you. (1 Pet 3:15). [Watch for traces of this throughout.] With these words from the First Letter of Peter I greet each of you with heartfelt affection. I thank Cardinal Egan for his kind words of welcome and I also thank the representatives chosen from among you for their gestures of welcome. To Bishop Walsh, Rector of Saint Joseph Seminary, staff and seminarians, I offer my special greetings and gratitude.

Young friends, I am very happy to have the opportunity to speak with you. Please pass on my warm greetings to your family members and relatives, and to the teachers and staff of the various schools, colleges and universities you attend. I know that many people have worked hard to ensure that our gathering could take place. I am most grateful to them all. Also, I wish to acknowledge your singing to me Happy Birthday! Thank you for this moving gesture; I give you all an A plus? for your German pronunciation! This evening I wish to share with you some thoughts about being disciples of Jesus Christ walking in the Lord’s footsteps, our own lives become a journey of hope.

In front of you are the images of six ordinary men and women who grew up to lead extraordinary lives. The Church honors them as Venerable, Blessed, or Saint: each responded to the Lord’s call to a life of charity and each served him here, in the alleys, streets and suburbs of New York. I am struck by what a remarkably diverse group they are: poor and rich, lay men and women – one a wealthy wife and mother – priests and sisters, immigrants from afar, the daughter of a Mohawk warrior father and Algonquin mother, another a Haitian slave, and a Cuban intellectual.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Saint John Neumann, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, Venerable Pierre Toussaint, and Padre Felix Varela: any one of us could be among them, for there is no stereotype to this group, no single mold. Yet a closer look reveals that there are common elements. Inflamed with the love of Jesus, their lives became remarkable journeys of hope. For some, that meant leaving home and embarking on a pilgrim journey of thousands of miles. For each there was an act of abandonment to God, in the confidence that he is the final destination of every pilgrim. And all offered an outstretched hand of hope to those they encountered along the way, often awakening in them a life of faith. Through orphanages, schools and hospitals, by befriending the poor, the sick and the marginalized, and through the compelling witness that comes from walking humbly in the footsteps of Jesus, these six people laid open the way of faith, hope and charity to countless individuals, including perhaps your own ancestors.

And what of today? Who bears witness to the Good News of Jesus on the streets of New York, in the troubled neighborhoods of large cities, in the places where the young gather, seeking someone in whom they can trust? God is our origin and our destination, and Jesus the way. The path of that journey twists and turns just as it did for our saints through the joys and the trials of ordinary, everyday life: within your families, at school or college, during your recreation activities, and in your parish communities. All these places are marked by the culture in which you are growing up. As young Americans you are offered many opportunities for personal development, and you are brought up with a sense of generosity, service and fairness. Yet you do not need me to tell you that there are also difficulties: activities and mindsets which stifle hope, pathways which seem to lead to happiness and fulfillment but in fact end only in confusion and fear.

[What follows is truly amazing.]

My own years as a teenager were marred by a sinister regime that thought it had all the answers; its influence grew infiltrating schools and civic bodies, as well as politics and even religion before it was fully recognized for the monster it was. It banished God and thus became impervious to anything true and good. Many of your grandparents and great-grandparents will have recounted the horror of the destruction that ensued. Indeed, some of them came to America precisely to escape such terror. [The terror and destruction he experienced.]

Let us thank God that today many people of your generation are able to enjoy the liberties which have arisen through the extension of democracy [at great cost] and respect for human rights. [John Adams once said: "I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain." The cost of freedom, for oneself, for loved ones, for others whom you may never meet, may be the shedding of blood.]  Let us thank God for all those who strive to ensure that you can grow up in an environment that nurtures what is beautiful, good, and true: your parents and grandparents, your teachers and priests, those civic leaders who seek what is right and just.

The power to destroy does, however, remain. To pretend otherwise would be to fool ourselves. Yet, it never triumphs; it is defeated. This is the essence of the hope that defines us as Christians; and the Church recalls this most dramatically during the Easter Triduum and celebrates it with great joy in the season of Easter! The One who shows us the way beyond death is the One who shows us how to overcome destruction and fear: thus it is Jesus who is the true teacher of life (cf. Spe Salvi, 6). His death and resurrection mean that we can say to the Father you have restored us to life!? (Prayer after Communion, Good Friday). And so, just a few weeks ago, during the beautiful Easter Vigil liturgy, it was not from despair or fear that we cried out to God for our world, but with hope-filled confidence: dispel the darkness of our heart! dispel the darkness of our minds! (cf. Prayer at the Lighting of the Easter Candle).

What might that darkness be? What happens when people, especially the most vulnerable, encounter a clenched fist of repression or manipulation rather than a hand of hope?  A [1st] first group of examples pertains to the heart. Here, the dreams and longings that young people pursue can so easily be shattered or destroyed. I am thinking of those affected by drug and substance abuse, homelessness and poverty, racism, violence, and degradation especially of girls and women. While the causes of these problems are complex, all have in common a poisoned attitude of mind which results in people being treated as mere objects a callousness of heart takes hold which first ignores, then ridicules, the God-given dignity of every human being. Such tragedies also point to what might have been and what could be, were there other hands your hands reaching out. I encourage you to invite others, especially the vulnerable and the innocent, to join you along the way of goodness and hope.

The [2nd] second area of darkness that which affects the mind often goes unnoticed, and for this reason is particularly sinister. [!] The manipulation of truth distorts our perception of reality, and tarnishes our imagination and aspirations. I have already mentioned the many liberties which you are fortunate enough to enjoy. The fundamental importance of freedom must be rigorously safeguarded. It is no surprise then that numerous individuals and groups vociferously claim their freedom in the public forum[Make no mistake!  Benedict is waging a way for the public square and the rights of Catholics to be free to raise their voices and offer the great gifts and aspirations Catholic Christians can offer, because they "enflesh" the words and deeds of Christ, they reflect His light.] Yet freedom is a delicate value. It can be misunderstood or misused so as to lead not to the happiness which we all expect it to yield, but to a dark arena of manipulation in which our understanding of self and the world becomes confused, or even distorted by those who have an ulterior agenda.

Have you noticed how often the call for freedom is made without ever referring to the truth of the human person? [Superb!] Some today argue that respect for freedom of the individual makes it wrong to seek truth, including the truth about what is good. In some circles to speak of truth is seen as controversial or divisive, and consequently best kept in the private sphere. And in truth’s place or better said its absence an idea has spread which, in giving value to everything indiscriminately, claims to assure freedom and to liberate conscience. This we call relativism. [A fantastic and synthetic explanation which can help young people who study this, a way to explain to others (cf. 1 Peter 3:15!) what relativism is, why it is such a problem, and what - WHO - the solution is!]  But what purpose has a freedom? which, in disregarding truth, pursues what is false or wrong? How many young people have been offered a hand which in the name of freedom or experience has led them to addiction, to moral or intellectual confusion, to hurt, to a loss of self-respect, even to despair and so tragically and sadly to the taking of their own life? Dear friends, truth is not an imposition. Nor is it simply a set of rules. It is a discovery of the One who never fails us; [And therefore ourselves (cf. GS 22)] the One whom we can always trust. In seeking truth we come to live by belief because ultimately truth is a person: Jesus Christ. That is why authentic freedom is not an opting out. It is an opting in; nothing less than letting go of self [!] and allowing oneself to be drawn into Christ’s very being for others (cf. Spe Salvi, 28).

[For this nest part, remember that the Holy Father described the saint, above, as having had journeys, but along the way they extended a hand to others.  Here Benedict picks that up again.  Often it is helpful to break things down in the questions of how something pertains ad intra and ad extra.  The Church and her members must work through these issues of identity (the ad intra) so that we can have something to say in the public square (the ad extra).  But this pertains in our personal lives as well, in our private minds and within our hearts, and then with our neighbor.]

How then can we as believers help others to walk the path of freedom which brings fulfillment and lasting happiness? Let us again turn to the saints. How did their witness truly free others from the darkness of heart and mind? The answer is found in the kernel of their faith; the kernel of our faith. [so small, sometimes... hardly to be perceived... maybe only hoped for...] The Incarnation, the birth of Jesus, tells us that God does indeed find a place among us. Though the inn is full, he enters through the stable, and there are people who see his light. They recognize Herod’s dark closed world for what it is, and instead follow the bright guiding star of the night sky. [Epiphany... a manifestation]  And what shines forth? Here you might recall the prayer uttered on the most holy night of Easter: Father we share in the light of your glory through your Son the light of the world inflame us with your hope!? (Blessing of the Fire). And so, in solemn procession with our lighted candles we pass the light of Christ among us. It is the light which dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy, casts out hatred, brings us peace, and humbles earthly pride? (Exsultet). This is Christ’s light at work. This is the way of the saints. It is a magnificent vision of hope Christ’s light beckons you to be guiding stars for others, walking Christ’s way of forgiveness, reconciliation, humility, joy and peace[So, he connects the light of Christmas, and the light of Easter: Incarnation leading to Paschal Mystery.  For others we "enflesh" Christ's light but then have another experience of that light in our own experience of the Passion and Resurrection, from darkness to light... and so do other people whom we can be with.]

At times, however, we are tempted to close in on ourselves, to doubt the strength of Christ’s radiance, to limit the horizon of hope. Take courage! Fix your gaze on our saints. The diversity of their experience of God’s presence prompts us to discover anew the breadth and depth of Christianity. Let your imaginations soar freely along the limitless expanse of the horizons of Christian discipleship. Sometimes we are looked upon as people who speak only of prohibitions. Nothing could be further from the truth! Authentic Christian discipleship is marked by a sense of wonder. We stand before the God we know and love as a friend, the vastness of his creation, and the beauty of our Christian faith.

[The preceeding then takes more concrete form in action...]

Dear friends, the example of the saints invites us, then, to consider four essential aspects of the treasure of our faith: [1] personal prayer and silence, [2] liturgical prayer, [3] charity in action, and [4] vocations.  [There is a logical sequence to these, though in the life of a disciple they are ongoing.]

[1] What matters most is that you develop your personal relationship with God. That relationship is expressed in prayer. God by his very nature speaks, hears, and replies. Indeed, Saint Paul reminds us: we can and should ‘pray constantly’ (1 Thess 5:17). Far from turning in on ourselves or withdrawing from the ups and downs of life, by praying we turn towards God and through him to each other, including the marginalized and those following ways other than God’s path (cf. Spe Salvi, 33). As the saints teach us so vividly, prayer becomes hope in action. [You can see in this phrase that logical connection.] Christ was their constant companion, with whom they conversed at every step of their journey for others.

There is another aspect of prayer which we need to remember: [2] silent contemplation. Saint John, for example, tells us that to embrace God’s revelation we must first [!] listen, then respond by proclaiming what we have heard and seen (cf. 1 Jn 1:2-3; Dei Verbum, 1). Have we perhaps lost something of the art of listening? Do you leave space to hear God’s whisper, calling you forth into goodness? Friends, do not be afraid of silence or stillness, listen to God, adore him in the Eucharist. Let his word shape your journey as an unfolding of holiness.

[3] In the liturgy we find the whole Church at prayer. The word liturgy means the participation of God’s people in ‘the work of Christ the Priest and of His Body which is the Church’. (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 7). What is that work? First of all it refers to Christ’s Passion, his Death and Resurrection, and his Ascension what we call the Paschal Mystery. [Which is first an inward participation!  That is where we first experience the Paschal Mystery... in baptism.  Then in our lives it is experienced inward, at times through exterior trials.  Here... life and liturgical action then interconnect.]  It also refers to the celebration of the liturgy itself. The two meanings are in fact inseparably linked because this work of Jesus is the real content of the liturgy. [As WDTPRS has been saying repeatedly... the true Actor at Holy Mass is Jesus Christ. Our active participation is first and foremost interiorly active receptivity to what the Actor is doing.] Through the liturgy, the work of Jesus is continually brought into contact with history; with our lives in order to shape them. Here we catch another glimpse of the grandeur of our Christian faith. Whenever you gather for Mass, when you go to Confession, whenever you celebrate any of the sacraments, Jesus is at work. Through the Holy Spirit, he draws you to himself, into his sacrificial love of the Father which becomes love for all. We see then that the Church’s liturgy is a ministry of hope for humanity. [SAVE THE LITURGY - SAVE THE WORLD.  When we celebrate liturgical rites well, we do something beautiful for the whole world.] Your faithful participation, is an active hope which helps to keep the world saints and sinners alike open to God; this is the truly human hope we offer everyone (cf. Spe Salvi, 34). 

[Now you see the logical sequence clearly...] Your personal prayer, your times of silent contemplation, and your participation in the Church’s liturgy, bring you closer to God and also [3] prepare you to serve others. The saints accompanying us this evening show us that the life of faith and hope is also a life of charity. Contemplating Jesus on the Cross we see love in its most radical form. We can begin to imagine the path of love along which we must move (cf. Deus Caritas Est, 12). The opportunities to make this journey are abundant. [That's for sure!   Both ad intra and ad extra!]  Look about you with Christ’s eyes, listen with his ears, feel and think with his heart and mind. Are you ready to give all as he did for truth and justice? Many of the examples of the suffering which our saints responded to with compassion are still found here in this city and beyond. And new injustices have arisen: some are complex and stem from the exploitation of the heart and manipulation of the mind; even our common habitat, the earth itself, groans under the weight of consumerist greed and irresponsible exploitation. [Concern for the environment cannot be separated from our charity: man is the steward of creation and at the top of the material realm.]  We must listen deeply. We must respond with a renewed social action that stems from the universal love that knows no bounds. In this way, we ensure that our works of mercy and justice become hope in action for others.

Dear young people, finally I wish to share a word about [4] vocations. First of all my thoughts go to your parents, grandparents and godparents. They have been your primary educators in the faith. By presenting you for baptism, they made it possible for you to receive the greatest gift of your life. On that day you entered into the holiness of God himself. You became adoptive sons and daughters of the Father. You were incorporated into Christ. You were made a dwelling place of his Spirit. Let us pray for mothers and fathers throughout the world, particularly those who may be struggling in any way socially, materially, spiritually. [Our filial adoption in the Father then shapes the meaning of matrimony...] Let us honor the vocation of matrimony and the dignity of family life. Let us always appreciate that it is in families that vocations are given life.

Gathered here at Saint Joseph Seminary, I greet the seminarians present and indeed encourage all seminarians throughout America. I am glad to know that your numbers are increasing! The People of God look to you to be holy priests, on a daily journey of conversion, inspiring in others the desire to enter more deeply into the ecclesial life of believers. I urge you to deepen your friendship with Jesus the Good Shepherd. Talk heart to heart with him. Reject any temptation to ostentation, careerism, or conceit. Strive for a pattern of life truly marked by charity, chastity and humility, in imitation of Christ, the Eternal High Priest, of whom you are to become living icons (cf. Pastores Dabo Vobis, 33). Dear seminarians, I pray for you daily. Remember that what counts before the Lord is to dwell in his love and to make his love shine forth for others.

Religious Sisters, Brothers and Priests contribute greatly to the mission of the Church. Their prophetic witness is marked by a profound conviction of the primacy with which the Gospel shapes Christian life and transforms society. [especially through the evangelical counsels] Today, I wish to draw your attention to the positive spiritual renewal which Congregations are undertaking in relation to their charism. The word charism means a gift freely and graciously given. Charisms are bestowed by the Holy Spirit, who inspires founders and foundresses, and shapes Congregations with a subsequent spiritual heritage. The wondrous array of charisms proper to each Religious Institute is an extraordinary spiritual treasury. Indeed, the history of the Church is perhaps most beautifully portrayed through the history of her schools of spirituality, most of which stem from the saintly lives of founders and foundresses. Through the discovery of charisms, which yield such a breadth of spiritual wisdom, I am sure that some of you young people will be drawn to a life of apostolic or contemplative service. Do not be shy to speak with Religious Brothers, Sisters or Priests about the charism and spirituality of their Congregation. No perfect community exists, but it is fidelity to a founding charism, not to particular individuals, that the Lord calls you to discern. Have courage! You too can make your life a gift of self for the love of the Lord Jesus and, in him, of every member of the human family (cf. Vita Consecrata, 3).

Friends, again I ask you, what about today? What are you seeking? What is God whispering to you? The hope which never disappoints is Jesus Christ. [Every created thing can and will be lost!] The saints show us the selfless love of his way. As disciples of Christ, their extraordinary journeys unfolded within the community of hope, which is the Church. It is from within the Church that you too will find the courage and support to walk the way of the Lord. Nourished by personal prayer, prompted in silence, shaped by the Church’s liturgy you will discover the particular vocation God has for you. [A recap... like a good piece of music.] Embrace it with joy. You are Christ’s disciples today. Shine his light upon this great city and beyond. Show the world the reason for the hope that resonates within you. Tell others about the truth that sets you free[cf. 1 Peter 3:15] With these sentiments of great hope in you I bid you farewell, until we meet again in Sydney this July for World Youth Day! And as a pledge of my love for you and your families, I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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35 Responses to The Holy Father’s address to young people – updates coming

  1. TNCath says:

    Father, the address brought tears to my eyes. It was magnificent. It spoke to not only the young but the not-so-young–those of us who remember those years not so terribly long ago. What an incredible man we have sitting in the Chair of Peter! This may be his finest talk yet. I’ve re-read this address several times and will do so several more before the weekend is over. It certainly struck a chord in me. Thanks for posting it!

  2. His Holiness outdid himself with this one, for sure. And that’s hard to do!

    I, too, was moved to tears by his words.

  3. Denis Crnkovic says:

    You are right, Fr Zuhlsdorf, this is an awe-inspiring address. Thanks for posting the audio. If anyone can speak to the faithful youth of today\’s Church it is this humble man, this humble Pope, whose clear faith, clear intellect and clear use of the grace of the Word has the power to inspire the souls of the faithful to do what seems impossible. Benedictus est.

    +

  4. We love being married says:

    We loved listening to this address, we both cried. How blessed we are that God gave us such a man. We pray that many were touched by this and grow in love for Our Savior.

  5. MN says:

    As has already been said, simply the best and most moving thing i’ve read in a long time.

  6. Melody says:

    I was deeply moved by this address as I watched it tonight on ETWN. I found beautiful, inspiring, and deeply personal.
    However I might ask if anyone else thought the Holy Father held a long suffering expression at the liturgy afterwards. I was also somewhat annoyed at the way he was sat back down to deliver the remainder in Spanish.

  7. Melody says:

    I was deeply moved by this address as I watched it tonight on ETWN. I found beautiful, inspiring, and deeply personal.
    However I might ask if anyone else thought the Holy Father held a long suffering expression at the liturgy afterwards. I was also somewhat annoyed at the way he was sat back down to deliver the bit in Spanish.

  8. TNCath says:

    Melody: “I was also somewhat annoyed at the way he was sat back down to deliver the bit in Spanish.”

    Why? He didn’t seem to mind a bit. In fact, I thought he was amused. It was a nice spontaneous moment. I liked hearing Msgr. Ganswein tell him in German that he still had something to say in Spanish. It actually added to the sweetness of the moment.

  9. Zach says:

    Clearly the best “sermon” I have ever heard. On another note, does anyone know who the female that sang the Catholic songs was. She has a glorious voice…and no I do not mean Kelly Clarkson who butchered Schubert’s Ave Maria.

  10. Ioannes says:

    Spent the day in NYC. Saw the Holy Father leaving St. Pat’s in Popemobile. He didn’t see us and our sign that read, “Hanc infantem benedic,” but we all feel blessed to have been present on such a gorgeous day in the City.

    Just got home and read the homily delivered at St. Pat’s and then the speech at Dunwoodie, and I agree that especially the latter is absolutely extraordinary. Although I haven’t watched the speech, there is such warmth and tenderness even within some vigorous theological discussions. His definition of relativism is so succinct and immediately understandable. It dould even be used by catechists in explaining the issue to Confirmation candidates in high school. The whole speech should be required reading for all confirmandi, for that matter! This line was perhaps the most moving: “Let your imaginations soar freely along the limitless expanse of the horizons of Christian discipleship.” His enocouragement to talk “heart to heart” with God was just so personal, so warm, so tender. Yet the entire speech was an eloquent call to discipleship and a loving orientation toward the sources of strength for discipleship.

    The Holy Father’s invitations for us all, our country, the United Nations, the church in America, to renew and reinvigorate ourselves by rededicating ourselves to the genuine truths of our heritage is an inspiring and compelling summons. He contextualizes the appreciation of our past and continuity with our past inside a call for renewal in this new Pentecost. “Embrace it with joy. You are Christ’s disciples today. Shine his light upon this great city and beyond. Show the world the reason for the hope that resonates within you.”

    Am also struck by the Holy Father’s familiarity with so many aspects of American heritage: the citation of Washington’s farewell, the allusion to Hawthorne, and reference to the lives of America’s greatest Catholics. His extremely insightful exposition on the nature and ends of true “freedom” is so important to our country yet so infrequently examined in such detail.

    Praised be God, who has given us such a marvelous icon and vicar of His Son.

  11. Geoffrey says:

    I thought this was one of the many highlights of His Holiness’s visit. I for one will be re-reading this address for quite some time to come. I love his sense of humour, especially when he had forgotten the Spanish part. His address was also interrupted by applause–applause of agreement and support! He was beeming throughout this event. Long live the Pope!

  12. T. Chan says:

    Why? He didn’t seem to mind a bit. In fact, I thought he was amused. It was a nice spontaneous moment. I liked hearing Msgr. Ganswein tell him in German that he still had something to say in Spanish. It actually added to the sweetness of the moment.

    Yes his humility–he knows his office is to serve his flock, not to do as he wills… so if he has forgotten to do something, he doesn’t mind being reminded or ‘led’ to do it

  13. Clara says:

    I love our Papa!

  14. Marysann says:

    Father Z, thank you for posting this inspiring address, and all of the other talks and homilies that our Holy Father has given on this trip. Is it possible for you to have them printed with your comments? I would love to purchase such a booklet so that I could more easily share them with my friends and family.

  15. Mark says:

    Our Pope said:

    “The second area of darkness that which affects the mind often goes unnoticed, and for this reason is particularly sinister. The manipulation of truth distorts our perception of reality, and tarnishes our imagination and aspirations.”

    The Holy Spirit has given us two great Popes, in succession, who have experienced the internal workings of the two types of evils of the 20th century. Free people listening and reading these words today, owe it to the Holy Spirit and to themselves, to learn about, understand, and internalize this warning. In its essence, it is the same warning Christ gave to Peter.

  16. CK says:

    His homily moved me to tears. It’s the truth, that’s all it was, but he emphasized the hope and joy that go along with the truth. I still have his “Have Courage!” in my head.

  17. Katherine says:

    I loved his comments on marriage. So many people do not recognize the magnificence of marriage. And if more priests properly ministered to families and couples on marriage, religious vocations would be more abundant as he says – within families is where vocations are given life.

  18. John Hammond says:

    It strikes me how much more at home the more “popular” style music was at this event than at the Mass in Washington (which I attended). This follows a distinction made consistently in pre- and post-conciliar Church documents on sacred music, between *religious* music and *liturgical* music. Popular musical expressions of piety have always found their home in events like this, rallies, public devotions, processions, etc., allowing the people to express themselves in their own cultural vocabulary, but at the same time allowing the Mass and the Office to remain home for chant, polyphony, and the timeless heritage of the Church’s truly *liturgical* music. This is the beautiful balance struck by the Catholic musical tradition. So the more contemporary-style music felt much more authentic at this event, especially paired with the very authentically liturgical music at the Mass earlier at St. Patrick’s.

    I think when we can recover the distinction between religious music and liturgical music that the documents clearly enunciate (in conjunction with a necessary renewal of Catholic devotional life for which religious music is oriented), then we will be able to get past unfortuante musical choices like those we saw in Washington.

    On a side note about that, having been in attendance at Nationals Stadium, I would politely invite the nay-sayers to temper their rhetoric a bit about it. I’m just as traditional as the next man about all these matters especially music (I’m a professional organist for goodness’ sake), but I think we are falling into a trap when we allow the unfortunate music selections to overshadow the fact that Peter was among us, and that over 45,000 people assisted him in his Mass, that it was an immense font of grace for everyone present. This whole trip has shown how profoundly and quickly the TIDE IS TURNING with regard to the authentic reception of the liturgical, spiritual, and theological heritages of Vatican II, and if we dwell on the negative too much rather than rejoicing in the positive, we become part of the problem rather than part of the solution. Let us joyfully move forward in hope!

  19. John Hammond says:

    It strikes me how much more at home the more “popular” style music was at this event than at the Mass in Washington (which I attended). This follows a distinction made consistently in pre- and post-conciliar Church documents on sacred music, between *religious* music and *liturgical* music. Popular musical expressions of piety have always found their home in events like this, rallies, public devotions, processions, etc., allowing the people to express themselves in their own cultural vocabulary, but at the same time allowing the Mass and the Office to remain home for chant, polyphony, and the timeless heritage of the Church’s truly *liturgical* music. This is the beautiful balance struck by the Catholic musical tradition. So the more contemporary-style music felt much more authentic at this event, especially paired with the very authentically liturgical music at the Mass earlier at St. Patrick’s.

    I think when we can recover the distinction between religious music and liturgical music that the documents clearly enunciate (in conjunction with a necessary renewal of Catholic devotional life for which religious music is oriented), then we will be able to get past unfortuante musical choices like those we saw in Washington.

    On a side note about that, having been in attendance at Nationals Stadium, I would politely invite the nay-sayers to temper their rhetoric a bit about it. I’m just as traditional as the next man about all these matters especially music (I’m a professional organist for goodness’ sake), but I think we are falling into a trap when we allow the unfortunate music selections to overshadow the fact that Peter was among us, and that over 45,000 people assisted him in his Mass, that it was an immense font of grace for everyone present. This whole trip has shown how profoundly and quickly the TIDE IS TURNING with regard to the authentic reception of the liturgical, spiritual, and theological heritages of Vatican II, and if we dwell on the negative too much rather than rejoicing in the positive, we become part of the problem rather than part of the solution. Let us joyfully move forward in hope!

  20. AL says:

    Just when I think that Papa Benedetto can’t top himself, he does. This whole day from the homily st St. Patrick’s to this talk at St. Joseph Seminary.

    He has thrown down the gauntlet & challenged the prevailing philosphies in the World as well as parts of the Church. & done so with confidence.

    Thank God for his strong teaching & bold proclaimation of the truth.

    Father, as a fan of John Adams I had to cheer when I read your quote from him. It was very apropriate.

  21. Cathy says:

    The CNN coverage quoted the part about the sinister regime of the Nazis
    but they skipped over the part about “it banished God” and failed to
    convey an important point he seems to be making about the start of our
    society.

    It gives chills.

  22. Cathy says:

    I meant to say “state of our society” not “start of society”. I need some coffee.

  23. Rose says:

    The perfect Saturday. The sun was shining, spring in the air and Papa on EWTN, his gentle accented English growing on me. I have never watched TV for so many hours straight, not even during the conclave. Only one minor discordant note: the commentary on EWTN and the incessant comparisons. Give it up, guys, Pope Benedict is here and he is great….no more “sniffing” condescension, it looks and sounds hackneyed. I hope we get better journalism than that from EWTN. Take a look at John Allen`s example: the theme of affirmative orthodoxy…or Fr. Zuhisdorf`s…the Pope`s Marshall Plan.

  24. Ed Casey says:

    I have not sufficiently digested this address, but agree it may be one of the best of the visit.
    (Although I write this going out the door to Yankee Stadium).

    I am struck, and find a new depth in Aquinas’ dictum, “Truth is One.” Something to pray about in coming months and years.

  25. gustaf says:

    The cantor was Christi Chiapetti who sings in a parish in the Bronx. She did a great job, as did the Communion and Liberation choir, the organist, and the young pianist, Teng Fu who played Mozart for the Holy Father (at a Youth Rally!).

  26. Lee says:

    Where is the video of this? I can’t find it .

  27. gsk says:

    Zach: I was also greatly impressed by the cantor. I found the litany of saints especially inspired. I think (unless I’ve got it wrong) that it was an excellent example of how the vernacular can be used in a setting that is couched in tradition and yet a little “updated,” to use a hackneyed word (sorry). I shed so many tears throughout the visit with the youth (and I’m old!)

  28. Liz Griffin says:

    I, too, was especially moved by the cantor who sang the Litany at the Young People’s address. I have found many places which mention Kelly Clarkson, whose song did not move me, but I have not seen any mention in the description of the music of the wonderful cantor. Her litany was inspiring.

  29. prof. basto says:

    Superb!!!

  30. Jennifer says:

    Lee: Video of all the events are available here:
    http://www.uspapalvisit.org/video_audio.htm

  31. CatholicGandhian says:

    I was taken aback at how forceful the Holy Father was when he called Nazism a “monster.” This is a great man, ladies and gentlemen. He will do great things in his pontificate. He will truly be “The Glory of the Olive”.

  32. Lauren says:

    Fr. Z, I hope you will continue to update this post. Its a great post that I am sharing with others. God Bless!

  33. a seminarian says:

    Father,
    A week or two ago, here was an article in Newsweek that mentioned the effects of JPII’s visit to Poland and how, during that visit, few people at the time had any inkling of the long-lasting and far-reaching ramifications his remarks would have. I think that, having been present for our Pope Benedict’s lesson at the Youth Rally, and having read and re-read it, I cannot help but think these words contain a similar power to revolutionize the US in ways similar to the extent that was seen in Poland. Truly, these remarks are powerful. They should be highlighted as much as, if not more than, Benedict’s Regensburg Address. His words here have placed the US on the cusp of something truly remarkable. We note their power now– what about in 10 years?

  34. RBrown says:

    A week or two ago, here was an article in Newsweek that mentioned the effects of JPII’s visit to Poland and how, during that visit, few people at the time had any inkling of the long-lasting and far-reaching ramifications his remarks would have. I think that, having been present for our Pope Benedict’s lesson at the Youth Rally, and having read and re-read it, I cannot help but think these words contain a similar power to revolutionize the US in ways similar to the extent that was seen in Poland. Truly, these remarks are powerful. They should be highlighted as much as, if not more than, Benedict’s Regensburg Address. His words here have placed the US on the cusp of something truly remarkable. We note their power now—what about in 10 years?
    Comment by a seminarian

    I think the greatest effect is that the liberals have just been beaten up and had their lunch money taken from them. They all assumed (read: hoped) that the people and press would not really like BXVI, and that he would find himself isolated.

    Of course, the opposite happened. He was embraced, not as a Superstar but rather as a Holy Man.

    Keep in mind their mantra: Liberal equals Pastoral.

  35. a seminarian says:

    I love Pope Benedict XVI!!!!!!!!

    I was blessed to be in the front only feet away from the Vicar of Christ. Hearing these words of his in that moment was stunning and reading them and re-reading them now is enlightening and edifying.

    In this pope ‘blessed’, the Church is being richly blessed!