Saturday, December 31, 2011

Pope Benedict places his hopes in the youth

Educating Young People in Justice and Peace: the theme of the 2012 World Day of Prayer for Peace, January 1st.

Now, this isn't a message about an end to wars. In fact, the Pope states that "Peace is not merely the absence of war, and it is not limited to maintaining a balance of powers between adversaries." The Pope's message is about fraternity, solidarity, the nature of man.

Pope Benedict asks us to help young people to acquire an "integral formation of the person including the moral and spiritual dimension focused upon man's final end." In other words, to understand the truth about man, it would be helpful to know why he exists or to answer the question: who is man?

The message is deeply philosophical. While he says that the "Church looks to young people with hope and confidence," he does not admit that they have all the answers. Rather, while there must certainly be a willingness to listen to young people:
Attentiveness to young people and their concerns, the ability to listen to them and appreciate them, is not merely something expedient; it represents a primary duty for society as a whole, for the sake of building a future of justice and peace
the older generation must educate young people:
It is a matter of communicating to young people an appreciation for the positive value of life and awakening in them a desire to spend their lives in the service of the Good.
The Holy Father continues:
Educating ... means leading young people to move beyond themselves and introducing them to reality... This process is fostered by the encounter of two freedoms, that of adults and that of the young. It calls for responsibility on the part of the learners, who must be open to being led to the knowledge of reality, and on the part of educators, who must be ready to give of themselves. For this reason ... we need authentic witnesses [I presume the Holy Father refers to adults here witnessing to the young], and not simply people who parcel out rules and facts; we need witnesses capable of seeing farther than others because their life is so much broader [because of acquire wisdom perhaps?]. A witness is someone who first lives the life that he proposes to others.
Pope Benedict's complete message may be found here.

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