Friday, January 13, 2017


Below is the Vatican-provided translation of Pope Francis’ letter to young people on the occasion of the presentation of the preparatory document of the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. It was released by the Vatican this morning:


My Dear Young People,

I am pleased to announce that in October 2018 a Synod of Bishops will take place to treat the topic: “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.” I wanted you to be the centre of attention, because you are in my heart. Today, the Preparatory Document is being presented, a document which I am also entrusting to you as your “compass” on this synodal journey.

I am reminded of the words which God spoke to Abraham: “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” (Gen 12.1). These words are now also addressed to you. They are words of a Father who invites you to “go”, to set out towards a future which is unknown but one which will surely lead to fulfilment, a future towards which He Himself accompanies you. I invite you to hear God’s voice resounding in your heart through the breath of the Holy Spirit.

When God said to Abram, “Go!”, what did he want to say? He certainly did not say to distance himself from his family or withdraw from the world. Abram received a compelling invitation, a challenge, to leave everything and go to a new land. What is this “new land” for us today, if not a more just and friendly society which you, young people, deeply desire and wish to build to the very ends of the earth?

But unfortunately, today, “Go!” also has a different meaning, namely, that of abuse of power, injustice and war. Many among you are subjected to the real threat of violence and forced to flee their native land. Their cry goes up to God, like that of Israel, when the people were enslaved and oppressed by Pharaoh (cf. Ex 2:23).

I would also remind you of the words that Jesus once said to the disciples who asked him: “Teacher […] where are you staying?” He replied, “Come and see” (Jn 1:38). Jesus looks at you and invites you to go with him. Dear young people, have you noticed this look towards you? Have you heard this voice? Have you felt this urge to undertake this journey? I am sure that, despite the noise and confusion seemingly prevalent in the world, this call continues to resonate in the depths of your heart so as to open it to joy in its fullness. This will be possible to the extent that, even with professional guides, you will learn how to undertake a journey of discernment to discover God’s plan in your life. Even when the journey is uncertain and you fall, God, rich in mercy, will extend his hand to pick you up.

In Krakow, at the opening of the last World Youth Day, I asked you several times: “Can we change things?” And you shouted: “yes!”. That shout came from your young and youthful hearts, which do not tolerate injustice and cannot bow to a “throw-away culture” nor give in to the globalization of indifference. Listen to the cry arising from your inner selves! Even when you feel, like the prophet Jeremiah, the inexperience of youth, God encourages you to go where He sends you: “Do not be afraid, […], because I am with you to deliver you” (Jer 1:8).

A better world can be built also as a result of your efforts, your desire to change and your generosity. Do not be afraid to listen to the Spirit who proposes bold choices; do not delay when your conscience asks you to take risks in following the Master. The Church also wishes to listen to your voice, your sensitivities and your faith; even your doubts and your criticism. Make your voice heard, let it resonate in communities and let it be heard by your shepherds of souls. St. Benedict urged the abbots to consult, even the young, before any important decision, because “the Lord often reveals to the younger what is best.” (Rule of St. Benedict, III, 3).

Such is the case, even in the journey of this Synod. My brother bishops and I want even more to “work with you for your joy” (2 Cor 1:24). I entrust you to Mary of Nazareth, a young person like yourselves, whom God beheld lovingly, so she might take your hand and guide you to the joy of fully and generously responding to God’s call with the words: “Here I am” (cf. Lk 1:38).

With paternal affection,


Given at the Vatican, 13 January 2017


John Nolan said...

Excepting, of course those young people who are attached to liturgical tradition - they are rigid and probably mentally ill.

Only casual shirts have single and buttoned cuffs. A formal 'Jermyn Street' shirt will have double cuffs and require cufflinks.

Now if Francis were to appear in papal choir dress, that would be a 'bombshell'. But I won't hold my breath.

TJM said...

John Nolan,

Spot on as always. If he ignores the young people who are attached to liturgical tradition, he is dissing the future. When I was young and the first goofy "Teen Masses" began to sprout, my young confreres and I would roll our eyes at the post 50 crowd who seemed much more excited about the Teen Masses than we were. Unlike them, most of us had been properly trained during the halycon days of the liturgical movement to sing the Mass Ordinary and Propers in Latin.

Anonymous said...

Fake news! Photoshop. Francis in cuffs and cuff links! Never happened. Next thing you will tell me he knelt before of Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

Rood Screen said...

Rather than cuff links, I think he should get some piercings. Saint Francis received the Stigmata, so Pope Francis should at least sport a nose ring.

John Nolan said...

At least he didn't tell the 'yoof' to 'make a mess' like he did in Rio. Perhaps he realizes that he is quite capable of doing that himself.

Seriously, though, one feature of the modern era is the extension of adolescent attitudes and behaviour practically into middle age. It is salutary to reflect that the young men who fought and died in the last war were scarcely out of their teens if not actually teenagers - no extended adolescence for them.

Nor is 'pop' music a preserve of the young; those who grew up with it are now elderly. I recognized its limitations (superficiality, inability to develop musical ideas) when I was 16, and many young people will have a similar experience. Like TJM I experienced a 'teen Mass' in 1968 (trite ditties sung to the strumming of guitars) and although the Novus Ordo was still two years off, most of its features were already in place, including 'alternative' Eucharistic Prayers in the English translation we had to endure till 2011. One of the servers was a girl, the priest didn't bother with a chasuble, and we all gathered in a circle around a table. I wasn't impressed.

Quando autem factus sum vir, evacuavi quae erant parvuli. (1 Cor. 13:11)

Rood Screen said...

John Nolan,

Agreed. There is also a lack of appreciation for the Holy Ghost, whose inspiration prompted the Church to develop the divine rites over the centuries. Modern man looks only to himself for inspiration, even during sacrificial worship.

John Nolan said...


It's almost a parody of the 20th century, which saw the reintroduction of torture (in Stalin's Russia extended to children) which had been abolished in the 18th century in all civilized countries. Not to mention State-driven mass murder on an unprecedented scale.

The Catholic Church, its institutions, above all its liturgy, could have been expected to stand firm against this. Evelyn Waugh, in his 'Sword of Honour' trilogy (finished in 1961) still believed this, although he was more percipient than most in discerning the writing on the wall.

What did it do? It sold the pass with Vatican II which rushed to embrace the modern world and embraced Modernism at the same time. It destroyed with insouciance a liturgy which had developed over two millennia and replaced it with a 'designer' product, which any intelligent person can see is non-traditional and deficient.

And it has produced a Pope who refuses to sign himself as such, refuses to dress as such, whose humility resembles that of Uriah Heep, who thinks it is in order to scold and insult his fellow Catholics in a way that none of his predecessors would have done - God help us!

But then, I am a self-absorbed Promethean neo-Pelagian, rigid to the point of being mentally ill. Thanks, Frankie. Alexander VI was a better pope than you will ever be.

rcg said...

JN, yes, 30 is the new 15 years of age. This has manifested itself as a loss of confidence and identity. Sadly, it is not restricted to some 'younger' generation, but seems to be characteristic of the Baby Boomers as coddled weaklings. Their hand will not last long on the tiller, I am afraid.

TJM said...

For all of Alexander VI's sins, he was orthodox. I think it's past for Cardinal Pell to grab Frankie by the scruff and take him to the woodshed.

Православный физик said...

As a youngin (31), rigid, narrow-minded, self-absorbed neo-Pelegian, restorationist (insert other Pope Francis insult here)

I remember the attempts to be cool even in the 90's with the what I've dubbed Rockband Mass...wasn't impressed. IF I wanted a good rock concert, I always found them in the secular world.

I'm going to go ahead and end any need for a synod now (Please God spare us from another one)

The reason there are no vocations is rather simple.....

1) Liturgical praxis is atrocious, Our Liturgy not being taken seriously, no one else will
2) The infestation of various entities in the priesthood (Communist, homosexual, masonic, etc)
3) The rejection of those that are orthodox
4) Taking advantage of those males that have been through tragedies, thinking they'll be prey.

I'm sure there are more reasons, but I'm keeping things short.

For the sake of my own sanity, I've tuned out Pope Francis. It's still a good decision it seems.