Michael Cook of the Australian e-zine Mercator Net gives an enthusiastic review of World Youth Day and suggests, despite the serious challenges ahead, it might herald a renaissance for the Catholic Church in Australia.
"Now, after a week of joyful, unashamed religious sentiment Down Under, everyone knows that there is a viable alternative." I absolutely hope that is true. And by no means am I criticizing WYD -- I am a huge fan (I'm already thinking, "Madrid 2011!"). The energy it generates has to be built on, however, and I hope and pray the local Church is up to the challenge. Ultimately, I think, Christianity as a "viable alternative" is especially visible in the relationships of love and trust that faithful Christians have and build with non-believers, or lukewarm believers.
Read the comments too. There's a few critical voices from Australian ecclesial workers, some in the school system (which was criticized for not giving enthusiastic support for WYD, it seems). One comment really struck me as a bit of an over-reach or a scold. This commenter thought that WYD supported materialism because it encouraged participants to buy logos and t-shirts and knick knacks. Which strikes me as a particularly dour Puritanical clucking at the joy and enthusiasm of the pilgrims!