Archbishop of Sydney: I hope WYD 2008 strengthens faith in Australia

Cologne, Germany, Aug 24, 2005 / 12:00 am (CNA) .- The Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell expressed his confidence that “WYD Sydney 2008” will strengthen the faith of young Catholics in Australia and that they will attract above all those young Australians without any firm religious convictions.

In a conversation with CNA, the cardinal affirmed that WYD in Australia would be at the service of all the young people “that are looking for something. They can come to see it, experience and enjoy it for them” he indicated.

He said as well that “the percentage of youth that take part in church activities in their country is not very high, We have at least 40% that are catholic, 29 in my state, 18 that for sure participate on Sunday and minors under 16 a bit less. Youth between 18 and 25 participate in small percentage of 4 or 5%, but things starting to change and for the good.”

The Archbishop of Sydney pointed out that the decision to choose his city as host of the next WYD came from Pope Benedict XVI. “He sure was very happy to make the decision, he said to me personally”.

Commenting on the situation of the Church in his country, the Cardinal sustained that “one of the dangers in Australia is that we became very complicated and sophisticated.” “Sometimes we forget about fundamental and essential truths: God loves us, Jesus Christ his son redeemed us. We have to teach this in a simple and attractive way”.

“Out of all the wonderful things in WYD, the most important is that Christ and the Catholic faith make it to the public arena, and not only in churches or in the privacy of homes”, he added.