Pope Francis received a group of bishops from the DemocraticRepublic of Congo and exhortedthem to be especially attentive to the needs of young people in their dioceses,especially those in danger of violence.
“With particular horror I think of the children and youngpeople conscripted into militias and forced to kill their own countrymen!” thePope said. In his address delivered in French, the Pope went on to encouragethe bishops to take special care of youth ministries and to provide all possibleassistance to the young.
“The most effective way to overcome violence, inequality andethnic divisions,” the Pope said, “is to equip young people with a criticalmind and help them to grow in the Gospel values.” He also appealed to thebishops to “strengthen pastoral care in universities and in Catholic and publicschools.”
The Pope urged the bishops as well to promote initiatives tostrengthen the family, especially in the face of family breakdown, “caused inparticular by war and poverty.”
“I urge you to work tirelessly for the establishment of ajust and lasting peace,” continued the Pope, inviting the bishops to promotedialog, disarmament, and effective collaboration with other religiousdenominations. At the same time, he cautioned the bishops to avoid trying to dothe work of the laity. Politics, the Pope reminds them, is for lay people andnot for clerics.