Late morning, Thursday, 25 July 2013, Pope Francis met 30,000 young people from Argentina, who had gathered both inside and outside the Cathedral of San Sebastián.
Thank you, thank you for being here, thank you for coming ... thanks to those who are inside, and thanks especially to those who are left outside. They tell me there are thirty thousand outside. I greet them from here. They are in the rain ... thank you for this sign of your closeness, thank you for coming to World Youth Day. I suggested to Dr Gasbarri, the person who has been organizing my journey, to look out for a place for me to meet you, and in half a day he sorted the whole thing out. I would like to thank Dr Gasbarri publicly for all he has managed to do today.
Let me tell you what I hope will be the outcome of World Youth Day: I hope there will be noise. Here there will be noise, I’m quite sure. Here in Rio there will be plenty of noise, no doubt about that. But I want you to make yourselves heard in your dioceses, I want the noise to go out, I want the Church to go out onto the streets, I want us to resist everything worldly, everything static, everything comfortable, everything to do with clericalism, everything that might make us closed in on ourselves. The parishes, the schools, the institutions are made for going out ... if they don’t, they become an NGO, and the Church cannot be an NGO. May the bishops and priests forgive me if some of you create a bit of confusion afterwards. That’s my advice. Thanks for whatever you can do.
Look, at this moment, I think our world civilization has gone beyond its limits, it has gone beyond its limits because it has made money into such a god that we are now faced with a philosophy and a practice which exclude the two ends of life that are most full of promise for peoples. They exclude the elderly, obviously. You could easily think there is a kind of hidden euthanasia, that is, we don’t take care of the elderly; but there is also a cultural euthanasia, because we don’t allow them to speak, we don’t allow them to act. And there is the exclusion of the young. The percentage of our young people without work, without employment, is very high and we have a generation with no experience of the dignity gained through work. This civilization, in other words, has led us to exclude the two peaks that make up our future. As for the young, they must emerge, they must assert themselves, the young must go out to fight for values, to fight for these values; and the elderly must open their mouths, the elderly must open their mouths and teach us! Pass on to us the wisdom of the peoples!
Among the Argentine people, I ask the elderly, from my heart: do not cease to be the cultural storehouse of our people, a storehouse that hands on justice, hands on history, hands on values, hands on the memory of the people. And the rest of you, please, do not oppose the elderly: let them speak, listen to them and go forward. But know this, know that at this moment, you young people and you elderly people are condemned to the same destiny: exclusion. Don’t allow yourselves to be excluded. It’s obvious! That’s why I think you must work. Faith in Jesus Christ is not a joke, it is something very serious. It is a scandal that God came to be one of us. It is a scandal that he died on a cross. It is a scandal: the scandal of the Cross. The Cross continues to provoke scandal. But it is the one sure path, the path of the Cross, the path of Jesus, the path of the Incarnation of Jesus. Please do not water down your faith in Jesus Christ. We dilute fruit drinks – orange, apple, or banana juice, but please do not drink a diluted form of faith. Faith is whole and entire, not something that you water down. It is faith in Jesus. It is faith in the Son of God made man, who loved me and who died for me. So then: make yourselves heard; take care of the two ends of the population: the elderly and the young; do not allow yourselves to be excluded and do not allow the elderly to be excluded. Secondly: do not “water down” your faith in Jesus Christ. The Beatitudes: What must we do, Father? Look, read the Beatitudes: that will do you good. If you want to know what you actually have to do, read Matthew Chapter 25, which is the standard by which we will be judged. With these two things you have the action plan: the Beatitudes and Matthew 25. You do not need to read anything else. I ask you this with all my heart. Very well, I thank you for coming so close. I am sorry that you are all penned in, but let me tell you something. I experience that myself now and then. What an awful thing it is to be penned in. I openly admit it, but we’ll see. I understand you. I would have liked to come closer to you, but I understand that for security reasons, it just isn’t possible. Thank you for coming, thank you for praying for me; I ask you from my heart, I need it. I need your prayers, I need them very much. Thank you for that. Well then, I want to give you my blessing, and afterwards, we will bless the image of the Virgin that is to travel all over the Republic. And also the Cross of Saint Francis, which will travel on that same missionary journey. But do not forget: make yourselves heard; take care of the two ends of life, the two ends of the history of peoples: the elderly and the young; and do not water down the faith. And now let us pray, so as to bless the image of the Virgin, and then I will give you the Blessing.
Let us stand for the Blessing, but first I want to thank Archbishop Arancedo for what he said, because I haven’t had the good manners to thank him before. So thank you for your words!
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary ...
Lord you left your Mother in our midst that she might accompany us.
May she take care of us and protect us on our journey, in our hearts, in our faith.
May she make us disciples like herself, missionaries like herself.
May she teach us to go out onto the streets.
May she teach us to step outside ourselves.
We bless this image, Lord, which will travel round the country.
May she, by her meekness, by her peace, show us the way.
Lord, you are a scandal. You are a scandal: the scandal of the Cross. A Cross which is humility, meekness; a Cross that speaks to us of God’s closeness. We bless this image of the Cross that will travel round the country.
Thank you very much. We will see each other again in the coming days. May God bless you. Pray for me. Don’t forget!
[Provided by the Vatican Press Office]