Young People Must Feel Loved by Church, Says Pope

Sees It as Aid in Accepting the Gospel Message

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 30, 2005 ( To be able to accept the demanding message of the Gospel, young people must feel loved by the Church, especially by bishops and priests, says Benedict XVI.

In an address today to the general assembly of the Italian bishops’ conference, the Pope dedicated a key passage to the evangelization of youth, «the hope of the Church.»

After acknowledging the expectations he places on World Youth Day in Germany, the Holy Father said that young people are in danger of being tossed about by the waves of every new idea that comes along.

«Therefore, they need to be helped to grow and mature in the faith,» he told the Italian bishops gathered at the Vatican. «This is the first service they must receive from the Church, and especially from us bishops and from our priests.»

Benedict XVI added that «many of them are unable to understand and accept immediately all the teaching of the Church, but precisely for this reason it is important to awaken in them the intention to believe with the Church, and to have the confidence that this Church, animated and guided by the Spirit, is the true subject of faith, and that entering in it, we enter and participate in the communion of the faith.»

To achieve this objective, the Pope explained that «young people must feel loved by the Church, loved specifically by us, bishops and priests.»

«In this way, they will be able to experience in the Church the friendship and love that the Lord has for them,» he said. «They will understand that in Christ truth coincides with love, and they will learn in turn to love the Lord and to have confidence in his body, which is the Church.»

For Benedict XVI, this is «the central point of the great challenge of the transmission of the faith to young generations.»

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