Letter of September 1st 1997
Looking forwad to the future with boldness?
Looking forward to the future with boldness?
Let us welcome the Church's boldness which dare gather so many young people in an atmosphere of feast. Will the Church have the same bold approach to make the choice of those forgotten by the world and to let itself be transformed in order to be where human life is threatened ?
We are in a country hardly hit by unemployment and exclusion. When one thinks of foreigners disenfranchised, of homeless families, of workers obsessed by the idea of unemployment and day to day living, I wonder whether such a gathering can show to them simplicity and sympathy.
Had the Church the will to be near people's life, sharing their struggles and their hopes, what a prophetic sign that would be for the world !
Young people keep more and more away from the churches, but they are sensitive to the simplicity of the Gospel and to Jesus' way of living in solidarity with the poorest. Has the Church in France which is host to the gathering, understood this when it calls on an advertising agency to placard sentences from the Gospel like slogans ? When it trusts the care of organising the main celebrations to specialised agencies ? When it requests the help of a haute couture manager to design the ornaments for the celebrations ?
The dynamism which will be obvious during the World Youth Day, cannot make us forget the formidable weights which are at work in our Church.
So many questions remain without an answer, so many élans are curtailed, so many hopes meet with disappointment. Let us think of topics like sexual matters, the role of women, divorced people who are remarried, new ways of ministering, democracy, pluralism, the place of public opinion in the Church... we are deterred from debating on them.
But I remain optimistic. We have entered a new world. We are called to create anew. Wherever I am invited, I have the joy of discovering the Church working at grassroots level. It is being born again. I become the witness of the process of creation . God's breath is at work.
(translated from Le Monde, 8th August 1997) Jacques Gaillot)