The Synod of Bishops is underway in the Vatican. For Youth Commission Secretary, the Church has not really committed herself to involving young people. the challenges facing Pakistan and Europe’s secularised societies are not the same, says Card Coutts.
Lahore (AsiaNews) – Moving abroad in search of work is the highest priority for young people in Pakistan, this according to Pervez Roderick, executive secretary of the Catholic Youth Commission.
Speaking at the Synod currently underway at the Vatican dedicated to ‘Young people, faith, vocational discernment’, he told AsiaNews that emigrating has become “like an obsession. They [young people] are ready to go to any other country, even a Third World country like Bangladesh."
Roderick, who has been involved with youth outreach for more than 13 years, laments that "among the young there is widespread pessimism. They face so many challenges. Living in an Islamic majority country, most young Christians don’t have the same opportunities, even when deserving. In general, girls and young women are more educated than their male peers."
"Church commissions have not really committed themselves to involving young people,” he explains. “The Internet is also a biggest distraction. We must change our pastoral programmes according to the needs of the time. We are planning to reach illiterate young people in rural areas and encourage them to acquire professional skills and acquire basic training."
Card Joseph Coutts, Pakistan’s only cardinal, told the international press that “At the moment we are just stressing [the need of] listening to the youth. After you have listened, then you can respond, discern and decide what to do.”
"Each country,” he added, “has its own specific problems. In Pakistan 95 per cent of the population is Muslim, so our difficulties are different from those of Europe or other secularised societies.”
In addition, "Youth are a special category. It is a special stage in life when you have to make decisions,” he noted. “As Church leaders and pastors, it is our duty to listen to what they have to say."