Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sydney Harbor


A smiling Pope greeted tens of thousands of young pilgrims as he sailed through Sydney Harbour into Barangaroo during his official arrival for the 23rd World Youth Day.



Waving pilgrims lined the shore of Sydney Harbour, flags fluttered in Barangaroo and people stood on the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, watching the Pope's boat-a-cade come into the harbour. Ten boats carrying young people followed the Holy Father's cruise ship, which was filled with clergy and specially selected youngsters in national dress.

Disregarding protocol-the young people had been told to go up to the Pope on the top deck-Benedict XVI came down and stood on the lower deck chatting with them, waving and smiling, as boat entered the harbour. The Pope and the youngsters were both visibly moved by their personal encounters. One young Papua New Guinean could not be moved from his place at the Pope's elbow for the entire journey.

Once on shore, a group of Aborigines performed a dance for the Pope, before he moved up to the Sanctuary where Cardinal George Pell celebrated the Opening Mass for WYD08 on Tuesday.
Sydney's Cardinal Pell greeted the Pope on behalf of Australian Catholics, focusing on his role as the successor of Peter. The cardinal pointed out that there had been a pope in Rome 900 years before there was a king of England and 1,700 years before the Gospel first came to Oceania.
After the opening prayers and reading from the Gospel of Matthew (20:25-28), Pope Benedict gave a homily, addressing the pain suffered by the Aborigines and indigenous peoples of Australia and Oceania first, saying that the time for healing had come.
He said: "I am deeply moved to stand on your land, knowing the suffering and injustices it has borne, but aware too of the healing and hope that are now at work, rightly bringing pride to all Australian citizens."

As expected the Holy Father then spoke about Creation drawing the parallel between the scars affecting both physical environment and the social environment.

Looking out of the window of the Papal plane on the flight to Australia, he was filled with a sense of awe at the beauty and goodness of Creation with men and women at its heart he said. But under the beauty there are scars, he said. Erosion, deforestation, "the squandering of the world's mineral and ocean resources in order to fuel an insatiable consumption" affected the physical environment, but society too has its scars affecting the innate good in people.
Once on shore, a group of Aborigines performed a dance for the Pope, before he moved up to the Sanctuary where Cardinal George Pell celebrated the Opening Mass for WYD08 on Tuesday.
Sydney's Cardinal Pell greeted the Pope on behalf of Australian Catholics, focusing on his role as the successor of Peter. The cardinal pointed out that there had been a pope in Rome 900 years before there was a king of England and 1,700 years before the Gospel first came to Oceania.
After the opening prayers and reading from the Gospel of Matthew (20:25-28), Pope Benedict gave a homily, addressing the pain suffered by the Aborigines and indigenous peoples of Australia and Oceania first, saying that the time for healing had come.

"Yet such moments do not last. So again, we ponder. And we discover that not only the natural but also the social environment - the habitat we fashion for ourselves - has its scars; wounds indicating that something is amiss. Here too, in our personal lives and in our communities, we can encounter a hostility, something dangerous; a poison which threatens to corrode what is good, reshape who we are, and distort the purpose for which we have been created."

He spoke about alcohol and drug abuse, the exhaltation of violence, sexual degradation and exploitation.

Pope Benedict XVI said: "There is also something sinister which stems from the fact that freedom and tolerance are so often separated from truth. This is fuelled by the notion, widely held today, that there are no absolute truths to guide our lives.

"Relativism, by indiscriminately giving value to practically everything, has made 'experience' all-important. Yet, experiences, detached from any consideration of what is good or true, can lead, not to genuine freedom, but to moral or intellectual confusion, to a lowering of standards, to a loss of self-respect, and even to despair."

The Holy Father said that life was not just a succession of events or experiences but a search for the Truth:"

It is to this end that we make our choices; it is for this that we exercise our freedom; it is in this - in truth, in goodness, and in beauty - that we find happiness and joy.

"Do not be fooled by those who see you as just another consumer in a market of undifferentiated possibilities, where choice itself becomes the good, novelty usurps beauty, and subjective experience displaces truth."

"Christ offers more! Indeed he offers everything! Only he who is the Truth can be the Way and hence also the Life. Thus the "way" which the Apostles brought to the ends of the earth is life in Christ. This is the life of the Church. And the entrance to this life, to the Christian way, is Baptism."
Earlier that day, Benedict XVI met the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and congratulated him on having made a public apology to t he Aboriginal people of Australia. He said that Mr Rudd had made a "courageous decision to acknowledge the injustices committed against the indigenous peoples in the past" which was helping close the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australian peoples.
After meeting with the prime minister, he went to pray at the Mary MacKillop Chapel, where the beatified nun lies.

2 comments:

Santiago Chiva de Agustín said...

Young people know their limitations and contradictions, but when they come to listen during their holidays to an old man of 81 years that probably has not a special charisma, but they are persuaded by his insight, rigor and clarity. And young people want answers. So they are delighted that someone intends to improve them, someone who makes them want to be better people.

Regards

Santiago Chiva (Granada, Spain)
http://opinionciudadano.blogspot.com/

Annie said...

Thank you, Santiago, for your thoughtful comment.