Religion: Si to a Demanding Friend

On a tour of Latin America, the Pope challenges his audiences

Facing 40,000 roaring youths at a Caracas stadium last week, Pope John Paul II asked, "Will Venezuela's youth have the valor to be true Christians?" The crowd shouted, "Si." "And will they have the valor to construct a more just society?" Again a thundering "Si." "More fraternal and more peaceful?" Once more a booming affirmation.

The incident typified the rousing reception accorded the Pope during the first phase of his twelve-day Latin American tour. The exchange, however, underscored a more important matter: John Paul was not just a barnstorming superstar generating good cheer, but a taskmaster issuing challenge upon challenge. When...

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