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Lessons from the World Youth Days

Robert P. Banaugh, Ph.D.
In an attempt to stem the increasing number of youths who were abandoning the Catholic Faith, Pope John Paul II instituted World Youth Days (WYDs), which terminate in a papal celebration of the new Novus Ordo Mass.

A wild crowd at WYD, Brazil

WYD: a rock concert atmosphere

To attract the youths, they are encouraged to arrive several days prior to the papal celebration of the Mass, dress as they wish, sing songs, dance to rock and roll music and, in general, conduct themselves in a happy, joyful and uninhibited manner. Thus, during the entire several days of the event, the atmosphere is best characterized by frivolity and enjoying oneself and is comparable to that of a rock concert.

The celebration of the Papal Mass is itself marked by highly irreverent and insulting acts to Our Lord. Some examples are:
  • during the Mass attendees shouting “John Paul II, we love You”;

  • attendees playing soccer during the Pope’s three hour Mass,

  • Communion in the hand distributed, even by the Pope himself, and unconsecrated hands distributing the sacred Hosts willy-nilly to any and all in attendance;

  • Sacred Hosts being scattered around on the WYD grounds and falling in the mud where they are trampled on;

  • Bishops, priests and the Pope remaining seated on the platform observing the irreverent distribution of the Sacred Hosts while doing nothing to prevent it.
The book World Youth Day - From Catholicism to Counter-Church by C. Ferreira and J. Vennari, describes in detail many of the irreverent actions at the WYD held in Toronto, Canada in the year 2002. (1) Equally insulting and irreverent acts are standard fare at other WYDs.

In Latin Mass Magazine, Rome correspondent Alessandro Zangrando describes the same Mass at Toronto. He writes: “Several participants at the recent WYD were scandalized by the way singing, dancing and boisterous laughing were going on at the Mass while Bishops and Cardinals were concelebrating. It wasn’t clear when the festivities ended and the Mass began. …Even more serious was the distribution of Communion from cardboard boxes by young girls while hundreds of priests remained in their seats.” (2)

Plastic cups being used for Communion at WYD 2013

Communion distributed from plastic cups by "volunteers" at Rio WYD 2013

At the 2008 papal WYD Mass in Sydney, Australia, Pope Benedict XVI continued the tradition of his predecessor by denigrating the Real Presence. After the conclusion of the papal Mass, when the Pope and supporting Bishops and clergy had made their exodus, many of the sacred vessels were left unattended.

A crowd descended on the unattended sacred vessels and, without scruples, began filling their bags, pockets and coats with the remaining Sacred Hosts while others stood by and watched. Still other members of the crowd dipped their fingers into the chalices filled with the Precious Blood in order to dab their foreheads with the contents.

Only one Bishop tried to prevent the sacrileges while the rest of the Hierarchy and clergy had left the table hurriedly to follow the exiting papal entourage. (3) A collage of pictures showing the many similar abuses at the WYD 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is on line here.

The WYD events are carefully formulated in advance, as Ferreira and Vennari point out in their book: “It should be noted that the papal liturgies for Pope John Paul’s trips were drawn up at the Vatican by progressivist Archbishop. Mario Marini, his Master of Ceremonies since 1987. The liturgies were not ‘sprung” on the Pope unexpectedly when he arrived in a foreign land.” (4) Thus, the Popes are well aware of the coming proceedings and their part to play in it.

Huge applause at WYD

Delirious applauses at Mass under the Bishops smiling approval, at left

From observing the slovenly and immodest attire at Mass, the rock and roll atmosphere and the irreverent acts that are insulting to God at the papal Masses, the attending youths can readily draw the following conclusions:

1. The Pope and the accompanying members of the Hierarchy and the clergy do not believe the Mass is a “true and proper Sacrifice” (de fide) nor do they believe that “in the Sacrifice of the Mass, Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross is made present, its memory is celebrated and its saving power is applied (de fide)” (5)

2. The Pope and the accompanying members of the Hierarchy and the clergy do not believe that “the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ are truly, really and substantially present in the Eucharist (de fide).” (6)

3. Since the consecrated Hosts at Communion are distributed willy-nilly to one and all in attendance, the youths learn one does not need to be in the state of grace to receive the Body and Blood of Christ.

4. According to Catholic doctrine, “the Sacrifice of the Mass is a commemoration of the Sacrifice of the Cross which continues until the end of time, as the anamnesis following the Consecration specially indicates. But it is not a mere commemorative celebration (Denz 950); it is also a true and proper Sacrifice.”(7)

Priests singing at the final mass of WYD

Priests lead the songs at the final Mass at WYD 2013

Thus, since the Mass is a renewal of Christ’s horrible agony at Calvary, from the papally approved hoopla preceding the Mass and the irreverent behavior during the Pope's Mass, the youths could readily get the impression that if the Pope and accompanying Hierarchy and clergy had actually been present at Calvary observing the suffering and horrible death of Christ, they would have joined with the crowds in jeering at Christ’s ordeal.

In conclusion, example is a far more effective teacher than words, and youths have a great ability to detect when words are contradicted by behavior. From the described behavior at the WYDs, the youths readily learn that the Pope and his entourage not only feel free to dishonor God, but they also do not believe practicing what the Church teaches is necessary for salvation. Both actions contradict the reason Christ established the Church, which is to give honor and glory to God and for the salvation of souls.

Thus, youths are actually discouraged from remaining in the Church. As a consequence, not only is the reason for the existence of WYDs negated, but the eternal welfare of the souls of the attendees is endangered.

  1. C. Ferreira and J. Vennari, World Youth Day - From Catholicism to Counter-Church, Part II
  2. Latin Mass Magazine Fall 2002 issue, p. 5
  3. Der Spiegel, September 14, 2008
  4. Ferreira and Vennari, World Youth Day, p. 179
  5. Ludwig Ott, The Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma pp. 402, 407
  6. Ibid., p. 373
  7. Ibid., p. 407

WYD rock dance practice in front of religious images

Bold rock music in the WYD training with a backdrop of religious symbols

Posted November 22, 2013

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