Yesterday, Palm Sunday, 2500 students drawn from 150 universities around the globe gathered in Rome for UNIVFORUM 2018, a week-long deepening of their understanding of Catholicism and its relationship to the future of the world. Opus Dei has organized a meeting of this kind yearly since 1968. Delegates will participate in a papal audience, present the Holy Father with funds they’ve collected for relief efforts and with a mosaic of Mary Mother of the Church (for Christians in Syria). Their deliberations end Easter Sunday.
These are not – to be clear – the 305 young delegates invited by Pope Francis for the pre-Synod planning meeting that took place at the Vatican last week, which I described in an earlier column. Those young people concluded their activities yesterday by presenting the pope with a report, helpful in some ways, predictably conflicted and heterodox in others, particularly in its occasional hopes that Church doctrine can somehow adapt itself – Scripture, tradition, the very words of Jesus notwithstanding – to current ways of life in stark contrast to historic Christianity.
UNIVFORUM 2018, like almost everything organized by Opus Dei, is carefully thought through, with a clear focus. It includes organizations and individuals that my sometime colleague George Weigel has argued should be at the October Synod, given their proven successes in youth ministries. This year’s program looks pointedly at the 1968 youth rebellion, with its utopian expectations, and raises questions about whether, a half-century later, it delivered on its promises of freedom and human happiness.
Click here to read the rest of Robert Royal’s column at The Catholic Thing . . .