Appeal to the young

Appeal to the young

Justin Lynch

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.

JUSTIN LYNCH
Alderley, Qld

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