The many novelties of the Youth Synod
by Bernardo Cervellera

In the Final Document of the Synod there is a clearer affirmation on the proclamation of Jesus Christ to the young. Downplaying  ideology of youthfulness, which satisfies young people in everything to enslave them. "It is not about ... creating a new Church for the young, but rather rediscovering with them the youth of the Church". In Asia or Africa, the Church is the place where young people feel more fulfilled and helped. Sinodality: young people and adults are not two parties facing each other, but part of the same body. The

socio-political commitment and the social doctrine of the Church.


Vatican City (AsiaNews) - It will take a long time to assimilate the wealth produced by the Synod of Youth, which ended yesterday with a solemn mass in Saint Peter's and a long and detailed 60-page final document. That said this is an attempt to underline some of the novelties present in the document and in what we have perceived of the Synod.

First of all there is a downplaying of youthfulness, of that ideology which exalts youth in order to satisfy it in everything and to enslave it to the power of the day. The condition of the young today is described with great realism, showing all the promises and desires, but also the biases and superficialities. In particular, there is the suggestion to overcome a vision of the individual solipsistic and absolute conscience, to open up to a "us" conscience, in which the young are enriched by the bonds with their own history and tradition (n.109). On the Christian side the proposal to live the liturgy as protagonists is important, but "keeping alive the wonder for the Mystery", because "the liturgy is not purely an expression of itself, but an action of Christ and of the Church" (n.143).

The Document also clearly states that Jesus Christ, his truth and his love, is the true fulfillment of the young and that the Church is only eager to bear witness to them and to the whole world (No. 59). This is why "it is not about ... creating a new Church for the young, but rather rediscovering with them the youth of the Church", capable - as the Second Vatican Council said - "to rejoice for what begins, to gift itself without return , to renew itself and to start out again for new conquests ".

First of all, to bear witness we must listen and accompany, helping the young to mature as people who understand their value and their sense of being in the world. These two elements are important for two reasons. First of all because young people "are made to feel that their voice is neither interesting or useful in the social and ecclesial field. In various contexts there is a lack of attention to their cry, in particular to that of the poorest and most exploited, and also the lack of adults open and able to listen to them "(n.7). Secondly, because in the Church - out of presumption, laziness, meanness, clericalism - "the tendency prevails to provide ready-made answers and ready recipes, without letting the young people’s questions emerge in their novelty and inspire in their provocation" (n.8).

The Document dedicates more than 10 pages to the "synodality" of the Church that is proposed as the method of the life and mission of the Church (nos. 119-143). Synodality - literally: walking together - means that young people and adults, young people and the Church are not two islands or two fronts, one in front of the other, impenetrable, but live together and grow together. And if sometimes in the Western world the Church seems distant and absent from the life of young people, we must not forget that in the rest of the world - as in Asia or in Africa - the Church is the place where young people feel more realized and helped. This synodality shows that young people are already part of the ecclesial body and that, by enhancing their intuitions and presence, we can find ways, expressions and tools to announce Jesus Christ to the youth of the world. It is precisely the holiness of the young that can awaken the adult world to live the mission with dedication: "The balm of holiness generated by the good life of many young people can heal the wounds of the Church and the world, bringing us back to that fullness of love to which we have always been called: the young saints urge us to return to our first love (see Revelation 2: 4) "(# 167).

Finally, and this is also a novelty, among the most "urgent" mission fields (digital environment, migrants, women, sexuality, ...) we cite socio-political commitment, economy, work, emphasizing many times the importance of assimilating the social doctrine of the Church. Young people and adults must have "the courage to make themselves heard for those who have no voice among world leaders, denouncing corruption, wars, arms trade, drug trafficking and exploitation of natural resources and inviting those who are responsible for their conversion" (n. 151).

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