.- World Youth Day in Madrid will help many young people find “a foundation on which to build their lives” in a time of crisis, says one of the key Vatican organizers of the event.
“The postmodern world is going through a difficult and deep crisis. Relativism creates a dangerous vacuum of common values and meaning,” Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, told Vatican Radio on Aug. 13.
“World Youth Day in Madrid aims to be a clear and persuasive answer to those needs of people today: that the foundation exists and is a living Person who has a name, Jesus Christ!”
World Youth Day is actually several days of events beginning this Tuesday August 16. It concludes with Mass with Pope Benedict on Sunday August 21.
Cardinal Rylko said that the event can help rescue young people from a “culture with no fixed points of reference” that consequently produces “rootless people, who are deprived of safe and sound foundations in their lives.”
For that to happen, he said, each local diocese has to make sure that their preparation and follow-up to the event is adequate to the task. Otherwise the week in Madrid could become just “a flash in the pan.”
He also feels that the location for this year’s World Youth Day provides a microcosm of the contemporary clash of cultures: post-modernism versus orthodox Christianity.
“Spain is like a vast laboratory where the serious problems and challenges of post-modernity have manifested themselves with particular force ... such as the phenomenon of secularization, the trends towards a radical secularism, the laws of the state which are clearly opposed to natural law (the right to life, the nature of marriage and the family),” the cardinal explained.
Spain is presently in an economic crisis and has the highest rates of unemployment in the industrialized world. The cardinal said this means “without doubt” that Spanish society is “hungry for hope, it urgently wants to find prospects for the future.”
Therefore the Church of Spain, thanks to World Youth Day, is “called to rediscover its prophetic vocation and a new evangelistic courage.”
The cardinal concluded by echoing Pope Benedict’s call to “all young people – those who share our faith in Jesus Christ, but also those who are wavering or uncertain, or who do not believe in him” to share in World Youth Day. They should participate in the hope that it can prove “decisive for their lives” and can be “an experience of the Lord Jesus, risen and alive, and of his love for each of us.”