Pope Francis today warned young people of the risk of populism, hermetic societies and the abusive use of the internet, during a hearing held on the occasion of the Synod of Bishops and in which he heard their testimonies.
The act in the Paul VI Hall, in which music and dances were not lacking, was attended by some 7,000 young people and some of them narrated their life experiences before the pope and the members of the Synod, which deals with youth and concludes the next one October 28.
Among the testimonies that could be heard was that of a Milanese boy who was in jail, another who had problems with the contact pages, another who suffered bullying and a boy who admitted to being addicted to pornography.
Finally, they addressed a series of questions to the pontiff from the stage, who listened to them in the auditorium, and he only gave them a piece of advice: "Do your way, be young in motion, look at the horizon and not at the mirror "
The Argentine pontiff, improvising his message, warned that "the boys and girls who stay on the sofa end up retiring at twenty-four years", something that, in his opinion, "is ugly."
Francisco meditated on the importance of living coherently and acknowledged that he understands the feeling of young people when the Church is incoherent, when "he reads the Beatitudes and then falls into a more princely and scandalous clericalism."
Thus, aware of the habits derived from the advancement of new technologies, the Pope considered that "digital interconnection at the moment is safe and fast" but recommended not getting used to it.
"If life is that, you'll end up with a family at the table, at lunch or dinner, each with his phone talking to other people or to each other and without a concrete or real relationship," he lamented.
Francisco also opined that "populism has nothing to do with the popular", eliciting the applause of the assembled, but rather means the opposite, "the closure on a model."
"Popular is the culture of the people expressed in art, culture, science or parties, populism is the opposite (…) 'We are closed, we are alone.' When you remain closed you can not go ahead Stay tuned, "he urged.
Asked by a girl about how it would be possible to overcome this mentality that points to the foreigner and the immigrant as the enemy, the Pope opted for "the hug, the welcome, the dialogue and love, a word that -he said- opens all the doors" .
The Pontiff said goodbye with a council already frequent in his speeches, "talk to the elderly," welcomed by young people with a loud applause.
Meanwhile, the work of the Synod continues with the aim of deepening the experiences and problems that affect the new generations in order to orient the Church.
The sessions, which have a group of young people, will happen every day until next October 28 and in the last debates has come to light the issue of young African immigrants, as explained today the Archbishop of Bangui, Dieudonné Nzapalainga
The Cardinal of the Central African Republic denounced in a press conference that, often, these people "are rejected as beasts" upon arrival in Europe or accepted "only if they serve for something."
Among the group of young people who give their testimony to those who are known as "synodal fathers" are the 37-year-old Mariano Germán García, from Argentina, who has come to Rome to take the testimony of marginalized boys from Buenos Aires, he told Efe .
He works in the youth ministry of the Episcopal Conference of his country and one of his objectives in the sessions will be to put the accent on the "scourge of drugs, addictions, the risk of falling into suicide", which in some points of his country "is devastating."
In short, he will talk about the material poverty of his generation but also about "the social vulnerability in which boys fall, addictions, bullying (bullying) and discrimination".
Germán García defended that the examples of young people are truly represented before the Synod because, although those who participate are Catholics, they carry with them "the voice of those who are in other political and social spaces".
And, in addition, he claimed that in the meeting prior to the Synod, Protestant, agnostic and atheist boys were invited and, in the online questionnaire prepared to prepare it, "many young people answered" that do not belong to pastoral structures.