The Pope Tells Youth To ‘Swim Against The Tide’

After a tumultuous week filled with protesters and inclement weather, the Pope arrived in Madrid to address those gathered for World Youth Day. Thousands of young people flocked to Spain for the pilgrimage and to hear Pope Benedict XVI. So what did he have to say to the faithful young masses congregated to hear him speak?

As reported in the New York Times, the Pope encouraged young people to share their faith and minister to those around them. He thanked them for braving the thunderstorms and winds to join in the mass. And he also told them that they will be ”will be swimming against the tide in a society with a relativistic culture, which wishes neither to seek nor hold on to the truth”.

I found this last bit to be particularly interesting. Pope Benedict seems to be acknowledging that not all of the papacy’s beliefs are nearly as popular as they used to be. From their stances on same-sex marriage, female priests, and contraception use, the Catholic Church seems to be less “mainstream” than ever before.

I was recently quite surprised when a close friend admitted that she wasn’t comfortable discussing my foray into fertility treatments with me. In vitro fertilization is frowned upon by the Catholic Church, because it tampers with God’s plan. To be honest, I hadn’t even considered that she would have a religious obligation to the discussion and I felt extremely guilty for putting her in such an awkward place.

My husband grew up attending Catholic school and we are considering sending our daughter on the same path. So I am extremely interested in hearing what the Pope has to say to his youngest followers. “Swim against the tide” is a very underdog approach to bringing enthusiasm to their congregation. In that way, its surprising to hear from what I always thought to be the most proud and confident of faiths. But just because the approach is surprising, doesn’t mean its wrong.

Most faith-based groups for teenagers are extremely successful at keeping kids out of trouble and focused on the life ahead of them. They throw parties and host weekly gatherings to keep kids on the right path and encourage them to stay out of trouble. We constantly remind young adults to stand strong against peer pressure, which seems to be the same message that Pope Benedict is advocating. Its nice to see a festival that was so plagued by politics and protesters end on a note that relates to so many teenagers worldwide.


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