In an interview with Vatican Radio, the director of the Press Office of the Holy See, Father Federico Lombardi, said the next World Youth Day to be held in Madrid in 2001 will focus on the challenge of preventing Europe from losing its Christian identity.
Europe “is a continent where the confrontation between the faith and the problems of modern society, secularization and development, which the world imposes on the faith, is always alive,” Father Lombardi said. The effort to recover the Catholic identity of Europe will take place “without controversy and without trying to make comparisons with the world around us.”
“The Pope has spoken often of the risk that Europe might lose its fundamental values connected to the Christian tradition and the contribution the faith has made to this continent,” Father Lombardi explained. Therefore, he said, “this will be one of the issues and objectives of the next World Youth Day.”
He also recalled the success of the World Meeting of Families which took place in Valencia, Spain, “where the Pope’s message was completely positive, centered on the beauty of being a Christian and on the positive message for today’s family as well.”
“I think this will be the spirit also of the next World Youth Day in Spain: a message of hope, a message that says that the faith makes a beautiful and important contribution to the future of our society and our world,” Father Lombardi said.