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John Paul II The Face of Love
e3mil.com ^ | 8/6/02 | James Bemis

Posted on 08/06/2002 5:10:58 PM PDT by nickcarraway

One picture told it all: At Toronto's airport, the world's eye caught little ten-year-old Georgia Rae Giddings as she emotionally burst into tears after Pope John Paul II embraced her. For the next hour, she recalled the moment repeatedly before crowds of journalists. "When I stood in front of the Pope, I just got dizzier and dizzier," she said.

"Out of Step" with the Contemporary World

She's not the only one. Many of the million or so attending the World Youth Day celebrations reported the same phenomenon.

Most people would be astonished to hear that the Holy Father might be the most beloved person in the world among young people. After all, we're always told the Catholic Church's message is irrelevant, outmoded and - worst of all - square. Cynics charge it has nothing meaningful to say to today's fun-loving, hedonistic youth.

According to the press, polls repeatedly show the Pope's relentless opposition to contraception, abortion, homosexuality, pornography, pre-marital sex, easy divorce and other fruits of the sexual revolution is anathema to the modern and fashionable. (It goes without saying that no one knows the mind of the modern and fashionable like the media.) The Holy Father, they conclude, is out of step with the contemporary world.

A Rebuke to the Modern Age

Okay, then how do you explain nearly a million kids at the Pope's World Youth Day? And where else would the gathering of that many youngsters be termed a "disappointing" turnout?

Perhaps it's because young people's love for the Holy Father is a direct rebuke to the modern age, and thus to its primary megaphone, the modern journalist. No institution has been a more powerful force for secularism, materialism or sexual freedom than the media.

Most reporters today are alienated from religion, looking at faith as little more than an ancient superstition. They don't understand it, so they don't cover it - unless a "religious" story involving scandal or human weakness pops up. That they comprehend.

In listening to World Youth Day participants speak, their deep affection for the Holy Father is clear. The same words keep popping up over and over to describe him - "radiance," "hero" "world's role model," "leader of youth," "our rock," "following in St. Peter's footsteps," and "the person closest to Jesus."

Thus, reasons for the Pope's youthful legions are quite simple: When young people see the weary, lined, rugged, leathern visage of the Holy Father, they see the face of love. Not love the way Hollywood loves them - as walking wallets, rear ends in movie theaters, pairs of ears to listen to the latest CDs - but real affection, from someone who sees them rightfully as precious individuals with eternal souls. And when the Vicar of Christ's deep, aged, honeyed voice is intoned, it seems they're hearing the very Words of God.

An Inexhaustible Treasure of Grace

This, then, is the Papal appeal to the young: faith, as the steadfast leader of the Church, the eternal Bride of Christ; hope, offering refuge for the restless heart; and love, from a elderly man walking in persona Christi. Of these, as St. Paul says, the greatest is love.

This is what Georgia Rae Giddings reacted to. After telling the Pope she loved him, he tenderly stroked her head and whispered gently that he loved her too, the perfect personification of Cardinal Newman's great motto of "Heart Speaketh to Heart." It's hard to imagine any other world leader reacting this way to the presence of an unexpected young stranger - so fearless, so compassionate, so Christlike.

No wonder kids love him.

Catholicism may be known as the Old Faith, it's the Young Faith too, with a remarkable, time-tested ability to outlive every fad that mocks it as passe. Each Catholic generation discovers anew the richness and power of their ancient religion, finding within it an inexhaustible treasure of grace and beauty, boundless as the sea. Once that discovery is made, as a million young pilgrims recently learned, no worldly interest can ever again quite satisfy.


TOPICS: General Discusssion
KEYWORDS: catholic; catholiclist
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1 posted on 08/06/2002 5:10:58 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: Lady In Blue; NYer; Salvation; JMJ333; goldenstategirl
ping
2 posted on 08/06/2002 5:13:40 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway
One picture told it all: At Toronto's airport, the world's eye caught little ten-year-old Georgia Rae Giddings as she emotionally burst into tears after Pope John Paul II embraced her. For the next hour, she recalled the moment repeatedly before crowds of journalists. "When I stood in front of the Pope, I just got dizzier and dizzier," she said.

Okay, then how do you explain nearly a million kids at the Pope's World Youth Day? And where else would the gathering of that many youngsters be termed a "disappointing" turnout?

This past Sunday, as I entered our church, I saw a young man seated on a chair and our visiting seminarian talking with him. The young man had just returned from World Youth Day and he was still glowing. My guess is that he "received the call" after this beautiful experience.

3 posted on 08/06/2002 5:30:41 PM PDT by NYer
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To: NYer
Just looking at those pictures made me cry. How sweet. What a memory to treasure!
4 posted on 08/06/2002 5:46:05 PM PDT by JMJ333
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To: nickcarraway
Thanks. A beautiful post as usual. =)
5 posted on 08/06/2002 5:46:43 PM PDT by JMJ333
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To: nickcarraway
In the midst of a world gone mad, there is hope. No one personifies that more than the Vicar of Christ on earth. And the children know that better than the rest of us.
6 posted on 08/06/2002 6:41:49 PM PDT by narses
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To: nickcarraway
It was a beautiful sight to see. Watched it on EWTN.
7 posted on 08/06/2002 8:33:00 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: *Catholic_list; father_elijah; nickcarraway; SMEDLEYBUTLER; Siobhan; Lady In Blue; attagirl; ...
Alleluia Ping! Worth the read!

Please notify me via Freepmail if you would like to be added to or removed from the Alleluia Ping list.

8 posted on 08/06/2002 8:35:06 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: Salvation; nickcarraway
Excellent tender post. I'm certain the media did their best to downplay the 12 MILLION people lining our Pope's travel route when he elevated Juan Diego to sainthood.
9 posted on 08/06/2002 8:49:52 PM PDT by EODGUY
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To: nickcarraway

Georgia Giddings, 10, of Baysville, Ontario cries after meeting Pope John Paul II during a welcoming ceremony at the Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Ontario Tuesday, July 23, 2002. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

10 posted on 08/06/2002 8:52:00 PM PDT by ElkGroveDan
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To: ElkGroveDan
What a cutie. Bless her heart!
11 posted on 08/06/2002 9:23:23 PM PDT by kstewskis
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To: nickcarraway
Have you ever seen a bunch of kids at a rock concert? Same phenomenon. It's called hero- worship. It has nothing to do with Catholicism. What was preached that was particularly Catholic at this World Youth Day? This is actually a dangerous, not a good, thing. It's called charisma and Hitler had it in spades. They wept for him, too. It has nothing to do with message. If it did, we'd see some carry-through. There isn't any.

12 posted on 08/06/2002 10:32:10 PM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio
ultima - the fighting fundie of Catholicism! (This is an observation, not a criticism)

Your comments reminded me of Protestant fundamentalists taking Billy Graham stadium crusades to task. However, with Graham Crusades there is a follow up plan to interview and counsel and disciple people who indicate an increased interest in spiritual things at the crusade.

I wonder if there was any follow-up planned for this event. I have served as a Graham crusade counselor supervisor and am familiar with the preparation and follow up they do.
13 posted on 08/06/2002 10:46:01 PM PDT by drstevej
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To: drstevej
Your comments reminded me of Protestant fundamentalists taking Billy Graham stadium crusades to task. However, with Graham Crusades there is a follow up plan to interview and counsel and disciple people who indicate an increased interest in spiritual things at the crusade.

Bump your remarks. Thanks for the feedback of knowledge. I do believe the girl was sincerely touched by meeting the Pope just as many have been touched by meeting Billy Graham personally.

Plus the excitement of being at a seminar, crusade or World Youth Day in person.

14 posted on 08/06/2002 11:24:34 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: ultima ratio
"ultima ratio signed up 2002-07-25".

I'm not afraid to be critical. What are you doing on this thread? If you want to do an anti-Catholic rant, start your own. But leave the Pope alone on what may well be his final international trip.

15 posted on 08/07/2002 12:08:17 AM PDT by glorygirl
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To: glorygirl
What am I doing on this thread? Same thing you're doing, posting my opinion. I'm a fed-up cradle Catholic, by the way.
16 posted on 08/07/2002 1:23:33 AM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio
I think the comparison to Hitler is ridiculous. Please, if you are a cradle Catholic, answer my question: What do you think of the NCCB, their position on AMCHURCH, particularly the liturgical and catechetical, and where it is taking us? V's wife.
17 posted on 08/07/2002 3:55:03 AM PDT by ventana
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To: ultima ratio
My son just got back from WYD. On the drive back after I picked him up at the bus, he talked constantly about the message of the Gospel and redemption and so many other things that he knew as a Catholic but never really thought about. He's nineteen - "groupie age" you might say - but, believe me, he loves the Pope and was excited to say he was eight feet away but he didn't dwell on that. He came back talking about the catechesis, the fellowship, the excitement about being with others who were of the same faith as him. His love of his church and a desire to be a better Catholic. The Pope was an instrument to gather these young people together. They talked about JESUS and His love for them. The Pope simply reflects that and, in his human way, imitates it. You were not there. You have no right to judge these young people. You do not know what is in their hearts. I'd rather have my son listen to one who represents Christ on earth and teaches His word rather than some grunge rock group or heavy metal group. At least he - and a million others - know the difference. They are not stupid. They know the Pope is not Christ himself, and they know that he's not perfect. What he is, is an example, and he knows how important they are. After all, these young folks are the future of our church - especially so important to acknowledge in this time of crisis we are going through!

I sincerely hope you have a better day and shed some of what appears to be bitterness.
18 posted on 08/07/2002 4:29:03 AM PDT by sneakers
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To: ventana
If you've seen Leni Riefenstahl's film "Triumph of Will," you will see young people weeping as Hitler passed by. My point is not that the Pope is like Hitler, but that good men and bad can have charisma. It is a gift, that's all, it proves nothing. It can be used for good or for bad. What is important is the message, and I don't think in this case it's getting through to young people. They don't need more rock and roll and woodstocks, they need the Gospel preached to them in more churches, they need to be taught the basic truths of the faith--which I know first hand they aren't getting like past generations.

Where is Amchurch taking us? Just look around. The old Mass is gone. The old saints are out. The rosary is out. The kneelers are going. The tabernacle is tucked away out of sight. Catholics are singing "Amazing Grace" and "Rock of Ages" at the Novus Ordo. The new liturgy itself suppresses all awareness of the Real Presence. Genuflections are out. Communion is in the hands. Thomas Cranmer pulled this in England in 1552. Little by little the old faith was stripped away. After the first few shocks, the English were conditioned to accept anything.







19 posted on 08/07/2002 4:56:31 AM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: sneakers
I am not at all bitter. If your son came back talking about the faith, then maybe I'm wrong. But I too have been in crowds of kids--in Rome, not too long ago--to see the Pope. Same thing, lots of enthusiasm, but only for the moment. Young people are open, they are decent, they want to learn about the faith. Most are not getting the message, either in Catholic school or Catholic college. I've seen this breakdown first hand so I'm not optimistic.
20 posted on 08/07/2002 5:06:33 AM PDT by ultima ratio
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