FROM all reports that I have, the Jubilee for youth held in Rome was a great success, not a day of sadness at all (Br Damien Price CFC, CL 1/10/00).
For example, after the Pope’s Mass at Tor Vergata, Cardinal Ruini (vicar for the Diocese of Rome) met with one such group, the Neo-Catechumenate. They numbered 100,000 persons.
Asked if anyone in the group wanted to be a priest, 3000 boys put up their hands and walked and stood with the cardinal. Asked which girls in the group would like to spend life praying for the Church because they understood the value of prayer Ð 2000 girls came forward.
The main concern of our youth is not to be found in the “theology of Greenpeace”, but in seeking true love and true justice that can only be gained by a commitment to Christ. This can only emanate from a “theology of the person” that incorporates the spiritual and moral integrity of the individual and derived from an essential Catholic sacramental spirituality. Our cardinals and bishops in Rome rightly challenged our youth to an activism that would “first seek the Kingdom of God”.
Of course, social justice concerns are legitimate areas of demonstration in our engagement with the world. They are derivatives of that corpus of Christ’s teachings that have their root in a proper spirituality and a personal morality. All quests for social justice are spiritual in nature for they, in essence, involve the personal.
Particularly for our youth, there is a danger in not anchoring the ethic of a “clean world” and “environmental peace” to a living, personal faith. It often leads the uncritical into variant forms of social ideologies that are destructive of faith itself.
If we are not, in our own domestic housekeeping “temples of the Holy Spirit”, possessive of a clean heart and a pure mind, how can we demonstrate a world view of being collectively at peace with God from which issues the spirit of brotherhood and goodwill to all men and women?
It is a modern pelagianism to offer a social activism without first incorporating it within the context of a Catholic spirituality.
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