What Good Is It?

In case you're wondering about the tangible fruits of WYD, read this column over at NRO.

"Denver" has become the first word in many conversion stories told by young American Catholics, who frequently cite the 1993 World Youth Day Mass at Cherry Creek State Park, where they celebrated their faith with the pope and half a million peers, as the first step toward radical life changes. Some gave up the obsessive quest for pleasure that had led them into promiscuity and rabid consumerism. Others discovered a passion for pro-life activism or service to the poor. Many returned to the sacraments.

More than a few sensed the first stirrings of a call to the priesthood. A new study by Catholic University of America sociologist Dean Hoge reports that 26 percent of American priests ordained this year are World Youth Day veterans, and a Los Angeles Times survey of priests under age 41 suggests that those young men were listening when Pope John Paul urged them to defend controversial Catholic teachings. The 2002 poll found that these younger priests express more allegiance to the Church's hierarchy and less dissent against traditional Church teachings on such issues as abortion, contraception, and homosexuality than their elders in the priesthood.