Some sections of the secular press branded World Youth Day in Sydney as merely a Catholic jamboree for the young visiting pilgrims, and tried to blame the Church for the failings of its clergy. Such reporting showed an ignorance of young Catholics and their faith, or was due to an unwillingness to report fairly.
The press also reported that the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims celebrated Mass with the Pope instead of the other way around. They were wrong on all counts.
We had the pleasure to meet with pilgrims from Italy, Germany, and Poland and to house visitors - one a priest - from Tanzania. They were strong in their faith and here for but one purpose, namely to share it with others. We could find no fault in them.
Every venue the pilgrims attended was worthy of praise and their commitment was enthusiastic and most sincere. Language was no barrier for they were all aware of the purpose of their visit. It was a gathering of the universal Catholic Church and a source of pride for us all.
The visit by Pope Benedict XVI was a highlight for the pilgrims and his words of encouragement were received with great joy. Nor did they leave empty-handed.
WYD was a fine display of our Catholic faith and a true example of the way of life of our young people in action. They were indeed a credit to all of us.
WYD was a very happy occasion for Australia and we should be full of praise for the example and behaviour of the young pilgrims. We will see untold good fruits for the future of the Church in the end - thanks be to God.
M. & L. MORRISSEY