Young people are "an essential and unavoidable point of reference for the pastoral action" of the Church in the belief that if society and the ecclesial community ignore the problems of youth cultures, such as the "emergency" in education and employment, "it would, for the future of the world and of all humanity, be an impoverishment not only in economic and social terms but also on a human and spiritual level."
The "trust", the "need" and "hope" that the Church has in young
people, even in a framework of positives and negatives, were "forcibly"
reaffirmed today by Benedict XVI who gave an overview of the condition
of young people in his address to the participants in the Plenary
Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Culture, February 6 to 9, on the
theme: "Emerging youth cultures."
The Pope pointed to numerous factors in the reality of youth today
which are "complex and" in "an increasingly fragmented, cultural
landscape in constant and rapid evolution, to which are social media,
the new communication tools are no strangers given that they facilitate
and sometimes are the very cause of continuous and rapid changes in
mentality, customs, behaviour".
"There is thus a climate of instability that touches the cultural, as
well as the political and economic spheres - the latter also marked by
young people's difficulties in finding a job - mainly effecting people
on a psychological and relational level ".
This uncertainty and fragility that characterize so many young
people, "often pushes them to the margins, rendering them almost
invisible and absent in the cultural and historical processes of
societies. And more and more frequently fragility and marginality result
in the phenomena of drug addiction, deviance and violence ".
"There are, however, decidedly positive phenomena. The generosity and
courage of so many young volunteers who dedicate their best efforts to
others in need, the sincere and deep experiences of faith of many young
boys and girls who joyfully bear witness to their membership in the
Church's efforts to build, in many parts of the world, societies capable
of respecting the freedom and dignity of all, beginning with the
smallest and weakest".
"We are ultimately faced with an extremely complex but fascinating
reality, which must be thoroughly understood and loved with a great
spirit of empathy, whose bottom line and developments we must carefully
grasp. Looking, for example, at the young people in many countries of
the so-called "Third World", we realize that they represent their
cultures and their needs, a challenge to the global consumer society, to
the culture of established privileges, which benefits a small group of
the population of the western world. ".
"Youth cultures, as a result, "emerge" in the sense that exhibit a
deep need, a call for help or even a "provocation" that can not be
ignored or neglected, both by civil society or the ecclesial community".
Because, "if young people no longer had hopes, if they no longer
progressed, if they no longer infused historical dynamics with their
energy, their vitality, their ability to anticipate the future, we would
find a humanity turned in on itself, lacking confidence and a positive
outlook towards the future ".
For its part, the Church, the Pope concluded, "has confidence in the
youth, she hopes in them and in their energies, she needs them and their
vitality, to continue to live the mission entrusted her by Christ with
renewed enthusiasm. I very much hope, therefore, that the Year of Faith
be, even for the younger generation, a precious opportunity to
rediscover and strengthen our friendship with Christ, which brings forth
joy and enthusiasm to profoundly transform cultures and society".