Wednesday 13 November 2019

Freedom gone mad

• The director of MCD, the concert promoters who hosted a concert on July 7 in the Phoenix Park after which two people died, nine were stabbed and there were several outbreaks of violence and 58 arrests, claimed on radio that "wherever you get a large number of young people you can expect a level of violence and disturbance".

Apart from being a pretty awful opinion of young people, this is not true. Last year I attended World Youth Day (WYD) in Madrid. The estimate of the crowd was somewhere between 1.5 million and 2 million young people, most of them aged in their late teens and 20s.

To the best of my knowledge there were no arrests or outbreaks of violence, except by a small number of anti-Church protesters.

The police presence at WYD was minimal. All I saw the officers doing was smiling, directing traffic and taking photos for willing pilgrims.

At the Phoenix Park event there were 511 security personnel and 125 gardai (at whose expense?).

At the celebration in Madrid I was privileged to see and be part of crowds of young people filled with joy, vitality and a spirit of service.

Doesn't the juxta-positioning of these two events tell us something?

What is it we adults are holding up to our young people today as an example?

Is it to follow the whims of a freedom gone mad or to seek the truth which Christ, through his church, is offering us, calling us to love God and one's neighbour and to discover that true freedom is found in self-giving?

Fr Alphonsus Cullinan
Rathkeale, Co Limerick

Irish Independent

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