...the Spanish newspapers have been reporting the arrival of the Pope, his greeting the King and the local bishops, his strong and hope-filled message to the young. Papa B. is realistic; he talks about the hopes and beliefs of today´s young, the way in which they struggle to seek God and the fact that many of those here at World Youth day have already seen what, for example, drugs,and a hedonistic lifestyle, and high-pressure secularism and anti-Christian prejudice, can do to the lives and hopes of this generation. His tone is warm and filled with faith: it meets exactly and at a deep level the tone of the yuoung people gathered here, which is one of openess and a willingness to engage and to listen, with a desire to heal and unite and show solidarity and neighbourliness.
One thing which I can seen is widely recognised here is that high-pressure arguments, or angry denunciations, are not the way to spread the Faith. The message was summed up by Blessed John Paul ' the Church proposes, she does not impose'. Anyone in Madrid today would want to know what motivates these young people, the priests who are leading groups through the city with joy and music, the young friars with ropes round their waists sitting talking and laughing over a picnic meal with a team of young people in a grassy spot, the sisters with shady hats topping their veils as against a relentless sun, cheerful and chatty. The joy and enthusiasm is catching, it´s delightful.
A crowd of young French pilgrims gathers at a church already filled to overflowing. Their lovely singing fills the air, the local square, the nearby streets, as they perch on the low walls and kneel in the gardens around the Church to pray together.
A vast crowd is around the entrance to a busy Metro station. No one shoves or pushes, a Brazilian group quietly starts praying together. The atmosphere is calm. Heads are bowed. People cross themselves and the voices rise and fall in a murmur of familiar prayers...
Young people march enthusiastically behind their national flag, pausing to stop and shout "Viva il Papa!" and to cheer as an echoing "Viva!" comes from groups across the street and around a neighbouring square.
It´s all like that.