In Toronto, Youth Will Have a Chance to Rediscover Confession

Statements of the Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity

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ROME, DEC. 18, 2001 ( Toronto´s World Youth Day will offer a unique opportunity to renew the practice of the sacrament of confession, a Vatican aide says.

The aide, Guzman Carriquiry, is undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the Vatican organization most directly involved with the World Youth Day scheduled for July 18-28.

Carriquiry said that one of the key topics for reflection on the part of the 700,000 young people expected at the event is, precisely, the sacrament of reconciliation with God.

He said the choice of this topic is critical, given the criticism of this sacrament, especially in the Anglo-Saxon world, «which has weakened its practice.»

At the World Youth Day in Rome in 2000, thousands of youths at Circus Maximus went to confession before the meeting with John Paul II.

«The Catholic Church in Canada, though proud of a great tradition, has suffered the strong impact of secularization and de-Christianization,» said Carriquiry, a Uruguayan lawyer. «This fact is deduced from much evidence, such as lack of attendance at Sunday Mass, reduced presence in popular religious manifestations, [and] lack of vocations.»

Yet, «there are obvious signs of an awakening of the Christian tradition,» he insisted. «In the course of the last 10 days of November, Cardinal James Francis Stafford visited the whole of Canada, from Alberta in the Pacific to Halifax in the Atlantic area, passing through Quebec, Ottawa and Montreal; he witnessed manifestations of real enthusiasm.»

Carriquiry added: «Toronto is a city where Mass is already celebrated every Sunday in dozens and dozens of different languages. This will facilitate the welcome of the different communities to the youths arriving from all parts of the world.»

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