This is an article that I wrote for the Seminary Pro-Life Bulletin “Lifers”. It talks about my experience in World Youth Day and some themes that Pope Francis talked about. Hope you like it.
From July 23rd to 28th, the world’s eyes were fixed on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where World Youth Day (WYD) took place. This was so because, for the first time after his election, His Holiness was visiting the continent where he was born and grew up. More than three million Catholics gathered for this great celebration of their Faith, and many more followed the celebration from their homes.
The theme of WYD was “Go and make disciples of all nations,” and the Pope did not cease emphasize this and call the youth to action. In fact, you might have heard that he expected a mess as a result of WYD. But, why a mess?
The Holy Father denounced a culture of exclusion, and especially the exclusion of the youth and the elders. He explained that, “at this moment, this global civilization has gone too far, has gone too far, because the worship of the god-money is such, that we are witnessing a philosophy and praxis of exclusion of the two poles of life which are the promises of the nations.”
He said that the elders are suffering of a “cultural euthanasia: they are not allowed to speak; they are not allowed to act.” He also said that the exclusion of the other pole is manifested in the percentage of unemployed youth. In this way, “this civilization has led us to exclude the two extremes that are our future.” He encouraged the youth to fight for values and the elders to speak out and transmit the wisdom of the peoples.
He spoke against other attitudes that contribute to this culture of exclusion, such as the rejection of the unplanned child, religious persecution, discrimination, corruption, and drug trafficking. All of these are evils that threat the human dignity. The Holy Father’s invited bishops, priests, seminarians, and consecrated women during the Saturday Mass to promote a culture of encounter. But he also invited every young man and woman to be a protagonist of change, a protagonist of the culture of encounter.