Francis gets criticism from youth, but in the wake of Florida massacre urges young people to make their voices heard

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Francis gets criticism from youth, but in the wake of Florida massacre urges young people to make their voices heard

Post by jserraglio » Wed Mar 28, 2018 7:39 am

ABC News

VATICAN CITY — Young Catholics told the Vatican on Saturday they want a more transparent and authentic church, where women play a greater leadership role and where obeying "unreachable" moral standards isn't the price of admission.
In a fascinating final document from a weeklong Vatican-initiated conference, 300 young people from around the world joined by 15,000 young people online gave the older men who run the 1.2-billion strong church a piece of their collective mind.
They urged Pope Francis and the bishops who will gather at the Vatican in the fall to back their recommendations that church leaders must address the unequal roles of women in the church and how technology is used and abused. They warned that "excessive moralism" is driving faithful away and that out-of-touch church bureaucrats need to accompany their flock with humility and transparency.
"We, the young church, ask that our leaders speak in practical terms about subjects such as homosexuality and gender issues, about which young people are already freely discussing," they said.
Among the participants, however, there was no consensus on hot-button issues such as church teaching on contraception, homosexuality, abortion or cohabitation. The document said some young people want the church to change its teaching or better explain it; others accept the teachings and want the church to proclaim them more forcefully.
But overall, the young people concluded, the church often comes off as too severe and its "excessive moralism" often sends the faithful looking elsewhere for peace and spiritual fulfillment.
"We need a church that is welcoming and merciful, which appreciates its roots and patrimony and which loves everyone, even those who are not following the perceived standards," they said.
The 300 young people who attended the conference were mostly selected by their national bishops' conferences, universities or church movements. A handful of non-Catholics and non-Christians, as well as some atheists, also participated, and their views were incorporated into the final document.
Their reflections will be formally presented to Francis on Sunday — Palm Sunday — and will become one of the working documents that will guide discussions during an October synod of bishops at the Vatican on better helping young people find their way in the church.
On four separate occasions in the 16-page document, the participants demanded greater and equal roles for women in the church, calling for "real discussion and open-mindedness" about ways to promote the dignity of women so they feel accepted and appreciated.
"Some young women feel that there is a lack of leading female role models within the church, and they too wish to give their intellectual and professional gifts to the church," they said.
The young people also made it clear that they love their technology and the church must get hip to that or lose relevance. At the same time, the document said young people are looking for guidance as to how to responsibly use technology and combat online addiction, pornography and cyberbullying.
They called for the Vatican to issue a teaching document about technology, and use it better to spread the faith.
The final report is brutally honest in places, responding to Francis' call on the first day for the participants to speak freely and courageously.
It noted that young people are leaving the church in droves, in part because they have experienced "indifference, judgment and rejection" by the institution.
Church leaders, they say, are too focused on administration than community, and use words like "vocation" and "discernment" that young people often don't understand.
But mostly, they say, the church needs to admit that it is human and makes mistakes, and that its mentors aren't perfect people but forgiven sinners. The document cited the clergy sex abuse scandal as both an error that has driven people away and an ongoing issue that requires admission of wrongdoing.
"Some mentors are put on a pedestal, and when they fall, the devastation may impact young people's abilities to continue to engage with the church," they said.


Pope Francis, starting Holy Week services leading to Easter, urged young people on Sunday to keep shouting and not allow the older generations to silence their voices or anesthetize their idealism.
Francis spoke a day after hundreds of thousands of young Americans and their supporters answered a call to action from survivors of last month's Florida high school massacre and rallied across the United States to demand tighter gun laws.
He did not mention the demonstrations. Catholic News Service (CNS) said Gabriella Zuniga, 16, and her sister Valentina, 15, both students from Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, where 17 people were killed in February, attended the service with their parents.
CNS posted a photo of the two holding up signs in St. Peter's Square, with one reading, "Protect Our Children, Not Our Guns."
The 81-year-old Francis led a long and solemn Palm Sunday service before tens of thousands in the square, many of them young people there for the Catholic Church's World Day of Youth.
Carrying a woven palm branch known as a "palmurello," Francis led a procession in front of the largest church in Christendom to commemorate the day the Bible says Jesus rode into Jerusalem and was hailed as a savior, only to be crucified five days later.
Drawing on biblical parallels, Francis urged the young people in the crowd not to let themselves be manipulated.
"The temptation to silence young people has always existed," Francis said in the homily of a Mass.
"There are many ways to silence young people and make them invisible. Many ways to anesthetize them, to make them keep quiet, ask nothing, question nothing. There are many ways to sedate them, to keep them from getting involved, to make their dreams flat and dreary, petty and plaintive," he said.
"Dear young people, you have it in you to shout," he told young people, urging them to be like the people who welcomed Jesus with palms rather than those who shouted for his crucifixion only days later.
"It is up to you not to keep quiet. Even if others keep quiet, if we older people and leaders, some corrupt, keep quiet, if the whole world keeps quiet and loses its joy, I ask you: Will you cry out?"
The young people in the crowd shouted, "Yes!"
While Francis did not mention Saturday's marches in the United States, he has often condemned weapons manufacturing and mass shootings.
Palm Sunday marked the start of a hectic week of activities for the pope.
On Holy Thursday he is due to preside at two services, including one in which he will wash the feet of 12 inmates in a Rome jail to commemorate Jesus' gesture of humility toward his apostles the night before he died.
On Good Friday, he is due to lead a Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) procession at Rome's Colosseum. On Saturday night he leads a Easter vigil service and on Easter Sunday he delivers his twice-yearly "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) message.
(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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