The Madrid Generation

Pope Benedict XVI, despite his age, inspires the young to seek Christ
A commenter put a very interesting blogpost by a blogger based in Norway, who posted an email from someone who attended World Youth Day in Madrid. The blog is called 'Marginalized Musings' and it is not to be confused with another blog of a similar name.

The email addresses what has been dubbed the 'Madrid Generation' and it is worth reading, in order to understand the new 'Benedictine' generation of Catholics. Enjoy...

'Madrid was fantastic. This time I went as a leader - responsible for about fifty kids and their group leaders. Eleven years ago I went as a teenager to WYD in Rome. Much has happened since.

In the nineties our local Franciscans joined the Youth 2000 movement. We had a sort of exchange program with some Franciscans from the Bronx in New York. They brought us new songs, a wonderful new version of Eucharistic adoration, courage and joy. We, on the other hand, brought to them a respect for the old and traditional, the love of silence and fervent rosary praying. An American composer used to stay with "my" Franciscans during his summer leave and he’d teach us his songs. This all seems a million years ago. But the American Youth 2000 movement has evidently grown and spread. This year, in Madrid, I was totally amazed to hear 1.5 million kids singing one of those songs the American composer had taught us. And the Bronx brothers were there with their lovely adoration - filling an arena late at night even though the streets outside were one big party.

These kids [the WYD participants in Madrid], born in the nineties, are different from those of us born in the eighties. We were still so split between the world and the Church – youth culture and Church culture. We wanted to sit on all chairs at once. The Madrid-generation seems to have thicker armor on. They know the Salve Regina. They hold hands rather than make out. They kneel in the mud. They grow quiet in three seconds. They share their food and their water. They love the Pope.

I feel so very hopeful. I know the Pope has said the Church will get smaller, but stronger. The "smaller" bit was not hard to imagine; it was the "stronger" I had trouble understanding. But I think I know what he meant now. Another thing seems to have shifted: as I remember it, in 2000, the Pope was trying to build us up to resist the atheism surrounding us. It was about defense. Now he's sending the young people out into the world to evangelize - and they listened to him! I could hear them making plans for the evangelization of Sweden as they were talking amongst themselves in the evening.

Praying in the face of persecution: Young Catholics at WYD
There were left-wing demonstrations in Madrid. People spit in the faces of the WYDers, hit them, kicked them, called them names. But the bishops had told them not to fight back, but to turn the other cheek, to say a prayer or just keep silent. And they felt so strong and so happy that they actually managed it.

I came home from Madrid with sore muscles and a filled heart and head. And it took me days to land. Once I actually opened a newspaper the first headline I saw was "Lady Gaga considered one of the most powerful women on the planet." A month ago that would have filled me with a feeling of tired fear. Now it couldn't touch me. It's like all fear is completely gone. If the Madrid generation will lead this Church in the future, all will be well – even if the persecutions come. The fear will be back, I'm sure. But I hope I'll never forget the moment when the thunderstorm blew across Cuatro Vientos and the wet, dirty and tired youth of the Church laughed at it while praying the rosary.'

Encouraging isn't it? Today's Guardian has a rather unfortunate piece which defames Our Blessed Lord, His Apostles, Our Blessed Lady, St Joseph and Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman. Don't worry. They'll have their day in Court, so let's say a Hail Mary for the writer...