What Youths May Ask Pope in a Time of Scandals

Cardinal Stafford Speculates on Mood of WYD Participants

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TORONTO, JULY 22, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal James Francis Stafford believes that in view of current scandals, the young people gathering in Toronto will ask John Paul II, "What must we do to attain eternal life?"



The president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, organizer of World Youth Day, summarized the impressions prompted by the arrival of WYD participants.

"We have lived through the events of Sept. 11; we have also witnessed the eclipse of honesty in the market economy in the United States; we have seen the rise of scandals within the Catholic clergy in the United States and other countries, scandals that have shaken the confidence of Catholics," the American cardinal told Vatican Radio.

"Hence, today we have to live in a world that makes us experience our vulnerability, that makes us feel the need of the God who created and redeemed us through the blood of his Son," the cardinal added.

Cardinal Stafford explained that "the Holy Father will hear the question that the rich young man asked Jesus, and that now he will be asked by the hundreds of thousands of youths who have arrived to meet with him: 'What must we do to attain eternal life?'"

"I think this question today is presented, perhaps, in a more conscious way than in Rome in the year 2000, precisely because of the changes that occurred in the world context," said the cardinal, a former archbishop of Denver.

"I have the hope that, just as in previous World Youth Days, this year's will also be full of surprises. In Toronto we see again the youthfulness of the Church. The Church is always young, but the signs of her youthfulness will be more evident in these days," he explained.

"I have the hope that the young people, who have confidence in this Holy Father, this great and elderly Pope, will be able to see in him the sign of their renewed love for Jesus Christ."