The gathering of more than 1.5 million young Catholics at World Youth Day in Madrid was an event that left the 800 bishops present feeling encouraged, said Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. "In a world shaken by wars, economic crises and social discouragement, the youths who gathered with the pope had only one message to spread: Christ lives," the cardinal told L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper. "That is extraordinary because it encouraged the bishops, as well, in their mission as teachers of the faith," he said in the interview published Aug. 26.
Hundreds of bishops led the formal catechesis sessions at World Youth Day Aug. 16-21. Their presence in the Spanish capital, the cardinal said, was a witness of the bishops' concern for the church's younger members and of "solidarity with their difficulties." He said many young Catholics, including the Spaniards, live in countries where unemployment among the young has skyrocketed. The church's task, he said, is "to propose profound values in the midst of a reality that seems to give importance only to personal success, superficiality, consumerism and hedonism, as the pope said." Cardinal Ouellet said he went to Spain because "an event that sees the presence of a fifth of the world's bishops is a natural place for the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops to be." The cardinal also serves as president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and said Pope Benedict XVI's choice of Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day 2013 would be a further encouragement to the Latin American bishops to involve the young in the continent-wide mission to train Catholics to evangelize.