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Appeal to the young

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 Contents - May 2005AD2000 May 2005 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Challenges facing John Paul II's successor Benedict XVI - Michael Gilchrist
'Santo Subito': the impact of John Paul II - Peter Westmore
News: The Church Around the World
Year of Eucharist: Religious education: Catholic youth have their say - Shannon Donahoo
Catholic beliefs and practices: the challenge ahead for Australia - Michael Gilchrist
The Da Vinci Code and the itching ears syndrome - John Young
UK survey: why church pews are emptying
St Patrick's Church, Soho Square, a spiritual oasis in London - Tess Livingstone
Bioethics: IVF and embryonic stem cell research: the social and ethical issues - Kerrie Allen
Letters: Appeal to the young - Justin Lynch
Letters: God's Champion - Robert Garrett
Letters: Theology at ACU - Henk Verhoeven
Letters: Overseas priests - Jenny Bruty
Letters: Priest shortage - Jeff Harvie
Letters: Heroic virtue - Bob Denahy
Letters: Catholic education - Geoff Storey
Letters: Private revelations - Anne Boyce
Letters: Sex before marriage - Dr Arnold Jago
Letters: Society of St Pius X - Stephen McInerney
Letters: Ecclesial unity - Meg Fennell
Letters: Correcting pastoral blunders - Kevin McManus
Letters: Catholic hymns - Dolores Lightbody
Letters: Latin Mass Times in Hobart - Kevin Tighe
Letters: Corpus Christi Procession in Brisbane - Josie Mangano
Books: Sacred and Secular Scriptures / The Catholic Revival in English Literature - David Birch (reviewer)
Books: A GENTLE JESUIT: Philip Caraman SJ, by June Rockett - George Russo (reviewer)
Books: Remembering Pope John Paul II
Reflection: Pope John Paul II and the redemptive power of suffering - Fr Paul Stuart

It seems many non-and lapsed Catholics are trying to understand why over a million people were prepared to wait for up to 12 hours to see the body of the Pope, and why there were so many young people in the queue to see a man who was often portrayed as conservative and out of touch with today's society.

For myself, losing the Pope was like losing the grandfather that I never met.

I am a young Catholic (aged 28 and married with two children) who readily accepts the Church's teachings (even if I struggle to live them out). I have known only one pope in my lifetime.

In an increasingly materialistic and sceptical world the Pope was a great sign of counter-cultural hope and encouragement to youth. He challenged us to live chastity before marriage and not to accept contraception in marriage. He proved there is so much more to life than what most youth are offered.

He was a very holy and humble man who upheld human dignity, including that of the elderly by not resigning from his position towards the end despite his illness and frailty.

Many Catholic youth have seen from a distance that the sexual revolution has not made things better and that the Pope and the Church were right all along. As Sydney's Cardinal Pell recently said: "Catholic liberalism seems to be dying and there are only small pockets of Catholic radicals. It is hard to find a practising Catholic dissident under 50 years of age."

I saw John Paul on four occasions including travelling 500 kms for his 1986 visit to Brisbane when I was 10. The most memorable occasion was at World Youth Day in 2000 in Rome where over two million attended.

His message was provocative: "When you return home, do not grow lax. Reinforce and deepen your bond with the Christian communities to which you belong. From Rome, from the City of Peter and Paul, the Pope follows you with affection and, paraphrasing Saint Catherine of Siena's words, reminds you: 'If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!'"

It is only now that much of the Western world is realising through the incredible outpouring of love and affection that has followed his death what an impact this holy man has had on so many over his long pontificate.

Alderley, Qld

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 18 No 4 (May 2005), p. 13

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