Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Pope and World Youth Day 2008

Regrettably, Australia is now as secular as any western nation ...

Pope Benedict will soon land in Australia for World Youth Day Sydney 2008. The occasion is the largest youth event in the world and will be held in Sydney from Tuesday 15 to Sunday 20 July 2008.

Organised by the Catholic Church, WYD brings together young people from around the globe to celebrate and learn about their faith on a more regular basis.

Moreover, World Youth Day 2008 will be the largest event Australia has ever hosted. It will attract over 125,000 international visitors, which is more than the 2000 Olympics and will mark the first visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to Australia.

In preparation for the occasion, in July 2007 the Pontiff sent an advance message to our youth about the power of the Holy Spirit, in addition to the three objectives for the young – namely, recognizing the true identity of the spirit, to learn about the spirits continuous and active presence and, to deepen there understanding of Jesus.

While these are all praiseworthy pursuits, if Pope Benedict departs Australia without addressing the present malaise within the church, then many Catholics will feel cheated.

While there are some five million Australians who call themselves Catholic, only around one fifth of these attend church weekly - a figure that has dropped around ten percent in the last five years alone. Furthermore, the average age of priests is now 60 whereas in 1977, it was 44, and presently, there are just over 100 in training compared to 550 in 1970. Incidentally, the situation within the Australian Anglican Church is worse still.

Regrettably, Australia is now as secular as any Western nation accordingly; secularism must be the pontiff’s fourth objective while in the country. Will the festival and his visit stir Australians out of there secular attitude? Alas, the Pontiffs challenge …


MK said...

I think we are more secular than America, but less than Britain. It's really bad over there.

Aurora said...

Public institutions like the Catholic and Anglican churches may be deteriorating but the church I attend is mushrooming out so much it can't be contained. Mocked and derided by outsiders, Hillsong has a congregation of 20,000 people and it's churches like Hillsong and other similar ones, alive and genuine that are affecting the climate of this country. Believe me, Christianity is far from dead in Australia.