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John Paul II The Face of Love ^ | 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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To: ultima ratio
I don't know how old you are but, if you are a Catholic parent who loves your children and loves the faith, then you know that the family is the "Little Church". We have tried to teach our son the traditions of the church. We do genuflect - when most do not. I try to pass on the faith as I knew it when I was growing up. We are lucky enough to have a traditional priest (as much as he can be in these times). You are right. We need to get back to the things that make us uniquely CATHOLIC. One thing that Nate, my son, mentioned is that those kids who attended were there because they loved the faith. He said he thought the mind set would be one of "just to have a good time". But he said he was encouraged at the sense of unity in the faith. Let us be heartened by this news. Unlike Hitler, who built young armies of evil; this Pope, mindful of the outside influences of the world, is building any army of good. He is trying to set hearts and minds towards Christ - where the focus should be. He emphasizes the importance of the Eucharist.

I, too, will be watching to see if my son's committment will be short-lived. But, with this pilgrimage, the faith that he has learned at home as been affirmed. Just pray that many vocations come of this trip. These are kids, for the most part, who love their Catholic Faith.

God Bless,
Kathy (sneakers)
21 posted on 08/07/2002 5:18:47 AM PDT by sneakers
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To: drstevej
I'm more like a gadfly than a Catholic fundie, I think. I have no idea how these rallies work. From what I read, they can get out of hand. But then there are those, like the parent above whose son came back home talking about catechesis. Of course, my next thought was--what's in that catechisis? It's a question Novus Ordo churchmen don't consider too important anymore.

22 posted on 08/07/2002 5:42:21 AM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio; RnMomof7
***I'm more like a gadfly than a Catholic fundie, I think.***

"Socrates became known as the Gadfly of Athens (after the little gnat that pesters its object to desperation). Finally, 'he appeared so threatening to the tradition of his city that he was arrested and condemned to death for his detrimental influence on the youth of Athens.'"

Better be quick, my friend. Gadflies often get swatted. :-)

23 posted on 08/07/2002 5:59:51 AM PDT by drstevej
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Comment #24 Removed by Moderator

To: sneakers
Yes, I'm a parent. I appreciate what you're saying--you've convinced me the experience for your son was spiritual. Maybe the Church is doing something right for a change--but I am still somewhat wary.
25 posted on 08/07/2002 6:16:13 AM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio
I agree they are not getting the faith in Catholic schools or colleges, generally--some few Catholic colleges diverge. The Pope has written encyclicals on many articles of faith, the Bishops ignore him, but when the dust has settled and the Bishops and the Pope are gone, these documents will remain for the faithful as a reaffirmation. Those wishing to pursue the faith can read them and receive instruction. How is he to overcome an entire world,including his Bishops? Other then by reaffirmation of the Truth? V's wife.
26 posted on 08/07/2002 6:19:41 AM PDT by ventana
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To: drstevej
I was alluding to Socrates. The Apology was on my mind.
27 posted on 08/07/2002 6:20:10 AM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio
You seem to have had a (series of?) truly rotten experience(s) with the Church. Perhaps, to place them in their proper perspective, you could enlighten us as to which diocese(s) they occurred in? Thanks much.


28 posted on 08/07/2002 6:20:58 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard
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To: ArrogantBustard
Read the newspapers.
29 posted on 08/07/2002 6:35:04 AM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio
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.

In my observation, children are less easily fooled than adults. They respond to what is genuine, and do not rationalize away things they find "inconvenient," as many adults do. Yes, the Holy Father has charisma "in spades": the charism of Christ. Your comparison of John Paul II to Hitler, ultima ratio, is gratuitous and tendentious. IMHO. FWIW.

Before you accuse this holy man of being some kind of dangerous pied piper cynically misleading the innocents, it might be useful for you to read some of his books. You could start with Crossing the Threshold of Hope. As for the "carry through" of the Holy Father's message in the lives of these young people: Operations in the spirit are not things that you or I can directly observe. But in a world gone mad, people -- perhaps especially young people -- hunger for the sanity of eternal truths. Which you will find articulated in the referenced work, provided you have the eyes to see, the ears to hear. May the grace of God be with you.

30 posted on 08/07/2002 6:38:30 AM PDT by betty boop
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To: ultima ratio
Interesting. You have lived in Boston, Milwaukee, and Los Angeles, but nowhere else? What rotten luck...
31 posted on 08/07/2002 6:42:38 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard
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To: betty boop
As a matter of fact, I've read Crossing the Threshold of Hope. i found it indecipherable. And I did not compare the Pope to Hitler. Apparently you read the word "Pope" and the word "Hitler" and you put them together in your head. I was talking about the danger of hero- worship. A mother wrote to say her son benefitted spiritually--and I backed off--since she seemed for real. But if you want to believe I think the Pope is like Hitler, it's a free country, I can't stop you from twisting my words.
32 posted on 08/07/2002 6:51:34 AM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio
"Where is Amchurch taking us? Just look around."

I have. I've seen it. I've seen the suburbanite, blend in the crowd types swallow the current @#$% hook, line and sinker.

I've seen the independant, think for yourself types resist and make a difference - and somewhat be shunned.

"The old Mass is gone." - not totally. It's creeping back, slowly, but surely.

"The old saints are out." - which old saints? I see no evidence of that, but I have grown up in a sheltered archdiocese.

"The rosary is out." - said every Saturday afternoon in my parents' parish, led by a couple of little old ladies. That's their job.

"The kneelers are going." - not where I am. The fight to get them repaired right and well was ferocious. Some of the weathlier people wanted to do a half-asked job.

"The tabernacle is tucked away out of sight." - not anymore. Our archbishop ordered all of them back to their rightful place. Smack dab in the middle behind the altar.

"Catholics are singing "Amazing Grace" and "Rock of Ages" at the Novus Ordo." Amazing Grace on the bagpipes is unparalleled. At Mass, I could take it or leave it, but on a tall ship as the rig is being hoisted...sends chills down your spine.

"The new liturgy itself suppresses all awareness of the Real Presence" - not having experienced the old, I have no way of knowing.

"Genuflections are out." - only for people with bad knees. Like a few I can name who literally can't get down there.

"Communion is in the hands." - this one I actually like. It came here the year after I made my First Communion.

I guess, after having been in His Holiness's presence, and yes, I confess, having hero worship, I see nothing wrong with youth loving him. The last 20 or so years, we've watched the church pull back from at least some of the insanity of the immediate post-Vatican II shocks. At least, IMO, that's happened. And things are going more conservative, it's just going to be gradual. The more liberal teaching orders are dying out. Now that the seminaries have been exposed, hopefully, they'll be cleaned up. The laity will probably have to prompt this one. That shouldn't have to be, but if we want to save the church, basically from itself, we can't slip away. We have to fight the evil forces.

Oops. I got on a roll. Sorry.
33 posted on 08/07/2002 6:51:42 AM PDT by Desdemona
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To: ultima ratio
I have no idea how these rallies work.

That says it all. You have no idea -BUT, you do take the opportunity to criticise the Pope and slip "Hitler" into your dithyramb.

You admitted your ignorance and you can't disguise your dislike of the Pope. To some, those actions desreve compliments (from a calvinist).

34 posted on 08/07/2002 6:52:18 AM PDT by Catholicguy
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To: ArrogantBustard
Read more newpapers.
35 posted on 08/07/2002 6:55:10 AM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio
IOW, you're simply regurgitating what you've seen on CNN, ABC, the Washington Post and the New York Times. Thank you. I now know how to assess your posts.


36 posted on 08/07/2002 6:56:58 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard
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To: ultima ratio
"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."

Fortunately for most of us, these depredations have not taken place. We may have the N/O Mass, but it reverently celebrated, sometimes even in Latin. We don't sing Amazing Grace and Rock of Ages (nice, but Protestant, of course), The Real Presence is in the tabernacle behind the altar, we receive Communion on the tongue if we wish, we genuflect and kneel, and would be severely out of place if we stood during the Consecration. We have Benediction in Latin. Rosaries are carried everywhere, prayed frequently, and old saints are honored along with new ones.

I'm sorry if you have had some of the bitter experiences you list above, but the real Catholic Church is alive in America in the hearts of those who are willing to drive a few miles to find a reverent, faithful priest. We attended Mass in Wilber NB on Sunday (Lincoln Diocese). The priest announced before Mass that only faithful Catholics with "proper disposition" would be invited up to receive Communion. It was amazing to see how many people stayed in their seats.

I hope you find a good parish and a holy priest. Sounds like you care a lot. God bless.

37 posted on 08/07/2002 7:03:16 AM PDT by redhead
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To: Desdemona
Ultima is just echoing, WORD FOR WORD, the savage attacks made against the Pope by "The Remnant," "Catholic FamilyNews," etc. Pope John Paul II invented the world youth days and the schismatics - who draw small crowds of aging and bitter sectarians - are palpably jealous this Great and good Pope continues to draw youth to him in the millions.

Chris Ferrar et al (a cabal of cretins) routinely describes the WYD's as "rock concerts." I guess at Woodstock the necessity of obedience and love and embracing the Cross and following Jesus and allnight Confessions were what happened? Well, that is what happend at the WYD in Rome and Ferrara and those clowns described it as another Woodstock.

Their enmity and enviousness have driven them to insane and evil lengths and ultima parrots their rhetoric even while admitting he has no idea what ocurs at these events

38 posted on 08/07/2002 7:04:04 AM PDT by Catholicguy
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Comment #39 Removed by Moderator

To: Catholicguy
I have no personal animus against this pope. But I do hold him responsible for the people he has placed in high positions. After the scandals broke, people turned to Rome. They got what Rome has always given the laity when they have complained about corruption and malfeasance for the past two and a half decades--nothing, zilch, more of the same.

My response regarding the rallies was in reference to what I was asked: whether there were any priests on hand to minister to the kids after the rally, whether there was any carry- through as with Billy Graham's Crusades. I said I didn't know.

40 posted on 08/07/2002 7:10:43 AM PDT by ultima ratio
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