By now, the nearly 2 million pilgrims who gathered in Lisbon for World Youth Day are now home reflecting on the pilgrimage that has changed their lives.
I was following many of the updates from friends who had the opportunity to visit Fatima and then gather with millions of their newest siblings in Christ. As I was viewing the experience from the point of view of my friends, one shared something that was alarming.
On the eve of the closing Mass, some pilgrims were standing around praying in front of plastic crates. My one friend was walking past it when she heard someone say, “Jesus is in there.”
At first, she and her friends were angry. Then, they saw it as an opportunity to pray for reparations against the Sacred Heart. A photo of her and her friends kneeling in prayer has since gone viral.
Since sharing this alarming experience, it has drawn heavy criticism from Peter Kwasniewski to Dr. Taylor Marshall and many devout Catholics in between.
If there is one thing that must be on top of the agenda for World Youth Day in Seoul four years from now is to ensure the reverence of the Blessed Sacrament. Now, the planners may not have had enough time to figure it out. However, World Youth Day is beginning to lose its meaning if it continues in this direction.
Bishop Strickland even stated on Twitter, “What a tragedy that World Youth Day has fallen prey to the current trend to secularize the Catholic Church & de-emphasize Jesus Christ. No wonder it will have the lowest attendance since John Paul II first began WYD in 1986. It WAS a beautiful moment of evangelization”.
I am for World Youth Day. At the same time, the organizers need to do better in reverence to the Eucharist and evangelizing to Catholics and non-Catholics alike. It also must return to the reverent liturgy. Maybe we should push for a Traditional Latin Mass to be celebrated at the border between North and South Korea. I digress.
Dr. Peter Kwasniewski Facebook Post
Interview with Dr. Taylor Marshall