Pope Francis added a new activity to the official program; he visited the Cathedral of Rio to greet his Argentine compatriots, to whom offered an impromptu address. The Holy Father thanked the young people who had come to greet him and spoke to them colloquially. “I want the Church to go out into the streets, I want us to defend ourselves against all worldliness, opposition to progress, from that which is comfortable, from that which is clericalism, from all that which means being closed up in ourselves. Parishes, schools, institutions are made in order to come out … if they do not do this, they become a non-governmental organization, and the Church must not be an NGO”.
Photo: Thousands of young people gather Tuesday on Copacabana Beach for a World Youth Day Mass in Rio de Janeiro. (Jorge Saenz / Associated Press / July 23, 2013)
“I think that, at this time, this global civilization has gone beyond its limits; it has gone beyond its limits because it has created such a cult of money, that we are in the presence of a philosophy and a practice of exclusion of the two poles of life which are the promises of the populace. The exclusion of the elderly, obviously. One might think that there exists a sort of hidden euthanasia; or rather, that we do not take care of the elderly. But there is also a cultural euthanasia, because we do not allow them to speak, we do not allow them to act. And then there is the exclusion of the young. The percentage of young unemployed is very high, and we have a generation without experience of the dignity one earns through work. This civilization has led us to exclude the two peaks that form our future”.
The Pope encouraged the young to rise, to make themselves recognized, to fight for their values, and urged the elderly to speak, to teach us and to transmit their wisdom. “In the Argentine people, I ask the elderly with all my heart: do not disappoint in your role as the cultural reserve of our people, a reserve that transmits justice, that transmits history, that transmits values, that transmits the memory of the people. And you”, he said, addressing the young, “please, do not oppose yourself to the elderly: let them speak, listen to them and proceed. But know that in this moment you, the young, and the elderly, you are condemned to the same fate: exclusion. Do not allow yourselves to be excluded. Is this clear? It is for this, I think, that you must strive”.
Francis emphasized that faith is not a joke, but is rather a very serious matter. “It is a scandal that God made Himself one of us. It is a scandal that he died on a cross. It is a scandal: the scandal of the Cross. But it is the only sure path: that of the Cross, the path of Jesus, that of the incarnation of Jesus. Please, do not ‘liquidize’ your faith in Jesus Christ. We liquidize oranges, apples, bananas, but please – do not drink liquidized faith. Faith is whole, it cannot be liquidized or reduced. It is faith in Jesus. It is faith in the Son of God made man, who loved me and died for me. So, make a fuss! Take care of the extremes of the population, the elderly and the young! Do not let yourselves be excluded, and do not exclude the elderly. And secondly: do not liquidize your faith in Jesus Christ”.