Some young people "eexpressly ask to be left in peace, because they feel the presence of the church is annoying or even irritating". "We want to respond to them, we want to be a transparent, welcoming, honest, attractive, communicative, accessible, joyful and interactive community". The risk of technocratic societies losing the meaning of life.
Tallinn (AsiaNews) - Listening to young people, many of whom "do not ask us for anything because they don't consider us significant to their existence" and to be creators of ties in society in which technology depletes our understanding of the meaning of life, the joy of living . These are the tasks that Pope Francis sees entrusted to the Churches, indicated in the first meetings of his visit to Estonia, the last of the countries touched on his journey.
It is the smallest of the Baltic countries, united to its neighbours by historical events, but different, among other things, for the language, Finno-Ugric and not Slavic, and for a strong economic and technological development. But it is also, statistically, the least religious country in the world: only a quarter of its inhabitants claim to be believers and Catholics are less than one per cent of its 1.400 million inhabitants.
Development and faith, in particular among young people, were the themes of the two main meetings of the Tallinn morning.
Being "artisans of bonds" within a technologically advanced society was the recommendation that Francis addressed to the political and cultural authorities of the country.
The Pope noted: "One of the evident effects of technocratic societies is a loss of meaning in life and the joy of living. As a result, slowly and silently the capacity for wonder is dampened, often leaving citizens in an existential ennui. A sense of belonging and commitment to others, of being rooted in a people, a culture and a family, can gradually be lost, depriving the young in particular of their roots and the foundations needed to build their presence and their future. Depriving them of the capacity to dream, to risk and to create. To put all our “trust” in technological progress, as the only way possible, can lead to a loss of the capacity to create interpersonal, intergenerational and intercultural bonds. Ultimately, that vital fabric so important for us to feel part of one another and share in a common project in the broadest sense of the word. Consequently, one of the most important obligations incumbent on all of us who have social, political, educational and religious responsibilities has to do precisely with how we can keep building bonds".
"A land of fruitfulness demands contexts in which roots can be planted and give rise to a vital network capable of ensuring that the members of its communities feel “at home”. There is no worse form of alienation than to feel uprooted, belonging to no one. A land will be fruitful, and its people bear fruit and give birth to the future, only to the extent that it can foster a sense of belonging among its members, create bonds of integration between generations and different communities; and avoid all that make us insensitive to others and lead to further alienation. In this effort, dear friends, I wish to assure you that you can count always on the support and help of Catholic Church, a small community in your midst, yet one most desirous of contributing to the fruitfulness of this land".
Closeness and listening that were also at the center of the meeting with young people in Kaarle Lutheran Church (in the picture). A warm encounter marked by songs and testimonies, at which the President of the Republic, Kersti Kaljulaid, wanted to be present.
"Often - remarked Francis - the Christian communities close in on themselves and do not listen". "We know - he continued - that you want and expect" to be accompanied not by an inflexible judge, or by a fearful and overprotective parent who generates dependence, but by someone who is not afraid of his own weakness and knows how to shine the treasure that, like a clay vase, they custody within (cf. 2 Cor 4: 7) "(ibid., 142). Today I want to tell you here that we want to cry with you if you are crying, to accompany your joys and laughter with our joys, to help you experience the discipleship of the Lord ".
The Pope then recalled the upcoming opening of the Synod dedicated to young people, "we know - he continued - as you have told us -- that many young people do not ask us for anything because they don't consider us significant to their existence. This is bad, when a Church behaves in a way that the young do not ask for anything ". "Some, on the contrary, expressly ask to be left alone, because they feel the presence of the Church as annoying and even irritating. This is true. They are upset by sexual and economic scandals that do not meet with clear condemnation, by our unpreparedness to really appreciate the lives and sensibilities of the young, and simply by the passive role we assign them. (cf. Synod dedicated to young people, Instrumentum laboris, 66). These are some of your requests. We want to respond to them, we want, as you say, to be a "transparent, welcoming, honest, attractive, communicative, accessible, joyful and interactive community" (ibid., 67). That is a fearless community. Fears close us ".
"Seeing you, gathered, singing - he said - I join the voice of Jesus and remain admired, because you, despite our lack of testimony, continue to discover Jesus within our communities. Because we know that where there is Jesus there is always renewal, there is always the opportunity of conversion, of leaving behind everything that separates us from Him and our brothers. Where there is Jesus, life always has the flavor of the Holy Spirit. You, here today, are the actualization of that wonder of Jesus.
Then yes, let's say again: "Come to me, all you who are tired and oppressed, and I will restore you" (Mt 11:28). But we say it convinced that, beyond our limits, of our divisions, Jesus continues to be the reason for being here. We know that there is no greater relief than letting Jesus carry our oppressions. We also know that there are many who still do not know him and live in sadness and bewilderment. One of your famous singers, about ten years ago, said in one of his songs: "Love is dead, love is gone, love no longer lives here" (Kerli Kõiv, Love is dead ). No, please let us make love live. "
"And so please Jesus; because He passed by doing good, and when he died he preferred the strong gesture of the cross to words. We are united by faith in Jesus, and it is He who waits for us to bring it to all young people who have lost the meaning of their lives. And the risk is also for us, to lose the meaning of life. And this happens when we believers are inconsistent. Let us welcome together the newness that God brings into our lives; that novelty that urges us to always leave again, to go where the most wounded humanity is. Where men, beyond the appearance of superficiality and conformism, continue to seek an answer to the question about the meaning of their life. But we will never go alone: God comes with us "