Holy Father, this is the 26th World Youth Day, and the 12th celebrated with a big international meeting. What is the significance of these events in the pastoral "strategy" of the Universal Church in the third millennium?
Dear friends, greetings! I'm happy to go with you to Spain for this great event. After having personally experienced two WYD, I can only say that it was truly an inspiration that had been given to Pope John Paul II when he created the idea of a large gathering of young people and of the world with the Lord.
I would say that these WYD are a signal, a cascade of light; they give visibility to the faith, of God's presence in the world, and thus foster the courage to be a believer. Believers often feel isolated in this world, almost lost. Here they see that they are not alone, that there is a large network of faith, a great community of believers in the world, that it is nice to live in this universal bond of friendship.
And it is thus that I think friendships are born, friendships across the boundaries of different cultures and different countries. It is this birth of a universal network of friendship, which links the world and God, and is an important reality for the future of humanity and for the life of humanity today.
What messages can the Church give for the hope and encouragement of the youth of the world, especially those who are now tempted to discouragement and rebellion?
And thus, it is confirmed in the current economic crisis that which had already appeared in previous great crises, that the ethical dimension is not something external to economic problems, but an inner and fundamental dimension.
The economy does not only work with a self-regulated market, but needs an ethical way of reasoning in order to work for man. It appears again that what Pope John Paul II had already said in his first social encyclical: man must be the centre of the economy and the economy is not to be measured solely according to achieving maximum profits.
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