The minor miracle of how Rome coped with the near-doubling of its
population for the Pope's funeral is already being embroidered.
Yet perhaps the real miracle was the way so many young people
descended on Rome to pay their last respects to John Paul II.
This was indeed a Children's Crusade, and those in Europe and America
who have grown used to thinking of the Catholic Church as a refuge for older
people were made to think again.
Middle aged Baby Boomers may in fact think that faith in Christ has grown passe. But that is clearly not the case. In fact, I sometimes feel that the Church--the whole Christian Church--will be far better off once our tentative, relativistic generation no longer holds positions of leadership and a younger group, more certain of the God known in Jesus Christ, take over.
Another passage of Simpson's interesting article, here offering speculation on John Paul II's successor, after reviewing many issues now dividing the Church:
The huge crowd of mostly young people who said their farewells to the Pope
were captivated by his energy and determination. A new pope in his seventies,
tired and perhaps a little frail, will not look good by comparison.
The old Vatican stand-by, after a powerful and charismatic pope, was
always a compromise candidate, selected primarily because he was unlikely to
That will not do this time. Better for the Catholic Church to have a
pope who will energise some, than a pope who will fail to rally anyone at all.
There is something to this advice for the whole Church: Better to stand for something and tick people off than to stand for nothing and lose their interest in Christ.