Pope Francis told 30,000 young people from his native Argentina that he expected them to cause a “revolution” after World Youth Day. “Shake things up,” he urged them. “Don’t forget to make a mess, to disturb complacency!”
According to Catholic News Agency, the pope was able to arrange an impromptu meeting with young people from his country in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, where the pontiff is celebrating World Youth Day 2013.
“What do I expect to come out of this World Youth Day?” Pope Francis asked. “I expect a revolution, not just here in Rio, but in all dioceses! I want you to go out. I want the Church to go out into the streets!”
Francis went on to say, “You must not water down faith in Jesus Christ. Do not drink a watered down faith. Faith is whole, it is not watered down. It is faith in Jesus, the Son of God, made man.”
At the same time that Francis urged young people to “go out into the streets,” however, he also insisted that the Church must defend herself by keeping her distance from worldliness, setting in, and the comfort of clericalism.
The pontiff said the Church should not live “shut in on ourselves. Institutions are for reaching out. If we do not go out, the Church becomes an NGO, and the Church cannot be an NGO.”
“Take care of the two extremes of life: the elderly and the young,” Pope Francis told the young people from his country. While concerned that the elderly are not valued enough, living a type of cultural euthanasia, Francis lamented the plight of young people as well.
“There are many young people who neither study nor work,” he said, observing that there are few opportunities for youth. “They do not have the experience of the dignity of work,” he said, noting high levels of unemployment.
“This civilization has led to the exclusion of the two extremes,” the pontiff said. “Young people have to go out and fight for values. The elders have to open their mouths. We need to pass on the wisdom of the people. Do not hesitate to be a cultural reserve that transmits the memory of the people.”
“You must not let yourselves be marginalized,” Pope Francis urged, and cautioned the young Argentines that the world “has made a cult, a god, of money.”
“We are before a philosophy that exults material goods,” the pontiff observed.
At the end of his time with the young people from his native land, Pope Francis thanked them for their closeness to him and expressed his sadness that he could not be even closer to them.
“At time I feel (encaged)…how ugly it is to be encaged,” he shared with them. “I would have liked to be closer to you all.”
The pope then blessed them and asked them to pray for him.