Bishop Mark O’Toole of Plymouth, England, Oct. 11, told the synod, “credibility and authenticity are crucial” and young people want to know what the church is doing to prevent clerical sexual abuse.
To reach young people and teach them the faith, Catholics must first show them that they are loved, “not just judged, discarded, or abused,” said a 29-year-old observer at the Synod of Bishops.
Young people from around the world told Pope Francis and members of the Synod of Bishops that they no longer want to remain on the sidelines but want to take an active role in the church.
Brazilian Cardinal Sergio da Rocha, relator general of the synod, introduced the synod’s work Oct. 3, urging the bishops to pray for “the gift of a healthy spiritual uneasiness,” recognizing that while the church has some programs that help some young people, much more needs to be done.
The future cannot be understood without reflecting on the past and on the history and traditions passed on to young people from parents and grandparents, Pope Francis said.
As a delegate to the Region II encuentro held recently in Albany, Daniel Solares echoed a message youth ministers have been sharing around the country during the process leading up to the National Fifth Encuentro to be held this fall.
The most desolate places in the world in need of Christ are where people are indifferent, even hostile to God and his love. The church’s mission is to bring the faith to the ends of the earth, especially to these “extreme peripheries,” Pope Francis said.
In a message sent Dec. 1, the pope said to foster vocations, the church must trust young people who, “despite belonging to the ‘selfie’ generation, look for full meaning in their lives, even when they do not always look for it where it can be found.”
It is revealing how a young person — without as much time here on earth and years of experience we adults have — has the wisdom and understands the importance of being attentive to the people around them and inevitably finding happiness for themselves and others by this awareness.
Through digital outreach, Pope Francis has set forth a challenge to create a culture of encounter whether it be through emails, text messages, social networks and chats.