...there is a big youth festival at Loreto in Italy, which the Pope will attend. Which wouldn't be of special interest to a Catholic journalist in Britain except for its size and enthusiasm, and for this comment from the leader of a local religious community, which I think is v. relevant. Look down the link - the bit to which I am referring is a thoughtful, timely and interesting one, echoing young Catholics' dislike of endless pop junk battering their ears: they hear pop all the time and want something different at a religious event. Since Papa Benedict's views on this are known, and he is (deliberately? or just fortunately for him?) missing the pop-noisy bit of this gathering, there is a general sense that the mood is veering in a new direction. Grown-up organisers of these things are going to have to connect with the newer trend among youth and ditch the sense of obligation to invite pop groups to blare out junk noise at such events. Organisers of World Youth Day in Sydney and elsewhere, take note...Incidentally, the debate on this is not helped by those who postively want modern liturgy to be horrible, because they are worried that a "reform of the reform", more beauty, and wider use of Latin at Ordinary Masses, will marginalise the Extraordinary (er - what used to be called the Tridentine - let's get used to new labels!) Rite. They are wrong - it won't, and it shows a lack of faith in the E-rite to believe it will. But more importantly, it shows a sour and narrow approach which doesn't seek the greater glory for God of having as much beauty in all worship as possible, at all times, and especially at large events which have a sense of marking a major moment in the life of the Church.
Money is still coming in for my sponsored cycle ride - a cheque arrived yesterday from a kind anonymous pensioner, and another £20 was pressed into my hand by another supporter.