One month after the end of World Youth Day in Australia, the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell underscored that the success of the event is not only related to the numbers of those who attended, but above all to the spiritual and religious fruits that were achieved.
In an interview with the L’Osservatore Romano, the cardinal explained, “We cannot be certain about how the divine economy operates, but the response to the Via Crucis showed the spiritual power of Christ our Lord and his redemptive history.”
Cardinal Pell expressed thanks for the economic support given to WYD and for the numerous initiatives aimed at welcoming young people from all over the world to Australia, including young people who traveled to WYD for the first time from countries such as Papua New Guinea.
After noting that a recent poll showed that 80% of the inhabitants of Sydney said they were happy to see so many young Catholics in their city, the cardinal praised the Australian media’s positive coverage of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI. The Pontiff, he said, conveys a “tranquil nature that reveals a good and gentle man, at peace with himself and with the world around him.”
“People said they had the feeling he was taking to them personally. Benedict XVI was happy and thankful for the official and public cordiality that was shown to him, and he was perhaps a bit surprised at the depth of faith he found,” the cardinal added.
He said that he used important ornaments during WYD, such as the pectoral cross of the first Archbishop of Sydney, “the English Benedictine John Bede Polding, and the staff of the first Australian cardinal, Francis Patrick Moran, of Irish origin,” as a way of “keeping the heritage of our Church’s faith alive.”
Cardinal Pell wished success upon the Spaniards who will be hosting the next WYD. “The faith of the Church in Australia has been strengthened by WYD and I am sure the same thing will take place in Spain.”