Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New York Times protests World Youth Day

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him.
 – Matthew 5:1
The New York Times' only story on World Youth Day is titled "Catholic Clergy Protest Pope’s Visit, and Its Price Tag". The fact that one million young people are coming to Spain to celebrate the Catholic faith and to welcome Pope Benedict XVI seems to be of little importance to them.

Somehow the NYT was able to track down a group of Catholics that had something negative to say about this wonderful event. You'd probably assume that this group wants to question the Church's teachings on women's ordination or "homosexual marriage". Hardly.

Fr. Eubilio Rodríguez
His name is Father Eubilio Rodríguez. The name of the group he belongs to is "Curas de Madrid" or Priests of Madrid. His main concern seems to be that the Church does not address more directly the needs of the poor people in Spain and around the world.

His other area of concern seems to be that the Church hierarchy is too distant from the people that it serves. Who would argue with that? I'm sure there are some very good bishops that complain about the very same thing.

I did not find any information on the group's website about the size of the group. The NYT says that 120 clergymen have signed their petition. I don't know where they got that number from. I couldn't find any indication of who the signers might be. I wonder how many priests there are in Madrid altogether? Did the NYT just decide that since the name of the group is Priests of Madrid that all the priests in Madrid automatically are in agreement with Father Eubilio? Maybe. Who knows.

The New York Times article emphasized that Father Eubilio is not happy with the cost of the Papal visit and that he would like to see some of that money spent on the poor. This is not exactly a new issue. See the Gospel account in Matthew for example.
Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head, as he sat at table. But when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for a large sum, and given to the poor."

But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me."

 – Matthew 26:6-11
Can you imagine the New York Times headline? "Disciples Protest Jesus' Visit and Its Price Tag". Some things never change.


  1. You're right to cite Matthew 26. In addition, is not the salvation of souls the main goal of the Church? It's in the CCC. The New York Times might want to check it out. What better way to accomplish this than reach out to the youth, who are most vulnerable to the attacks of liberalism and secularism, and try to shape the culture at large? But, of course, any opportunity to pounce at the Church, the NYT will take.

  2. Hi M. Yes, you're quite right on all counts. I'm hoping to write some articles on World Youth Day in the next few days. Last night I watched the opening Mass on EWTN. I was born in Puerto Rico and speak Spanish, so it was quite exciting for me to hear the Mass at WYD in my mother tongue. Towards the end, the choir sang "Nada te turbe". This is the famous poem by Sta. Teresa de Jesús, Let Nothing Disturb You. How wonderful to hear it sung in the Spain, in the opening act of consecration of all the young people who have gathered there. She lived through the dark times of the Protestant reformation. From Spain the Catholic faith spread around the world. Especially America and your own Philippines.

    I composed my own humble musical version of "Nada te turbe":
    May nothing disturb you

  3. We affectionately call Spain "ina" or mother in Filipino. We owe our heritage as a Catholic country to her.

    Your version is charming. The music brings out the beauty of the words of St. Teresa. It's lovely, really.

  4. M. Thanks! And I just learned my first Filipino word, "ina". Mother.