Pope's Address to Youth From the Diocese of Piacenza

At 4pm yesterday afternoon, at the Altar of the Cathedra of the Vatican Basilica, the Pope received in audience 500 youth from the Diocese of Piacenza-Bobbio, accompanied by Bishop Gianni Ambrosio, who participated in the pilgrimage «Upon this Rock» on the occasion of the Year of Faith. During the course of the meeting, Pope Francis addressed the youth in an off the cuff discourse.

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Here is a ZENIT translation of his remarks.

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Thank you for this visit!

The bishop said that I made a great gesture in coming here. But I did it out of selfishness. Do you know why? Because I like being with you! So this is a selfishness.

Why do I like being with the youth? Because you all have inside your heart a promise of hope. You are bearers of hope. You all, it’s true, live in the present, but looking towards the future…you are  authors of the future, craftsmen of the future.  Then – and this is your joy – it is a beautiful thing to go towards the future, with dreams, with so many beautiful things – and it is also your responsibility. To become craftsmen of the future.

When someone tells me: «But, Father, these are horrible times…Look, we can do nothing!» What do you mean nothing can be done? And I explain that many things can be done! But when a young person tells me: «What horrible times these are, Father, we can do nothing!» Please! I’ll send him to a psychiatrist! Because, truly, one can’t understand, one can’t understood a young man or a young woman who doesn’t want to set his or her sights on a grand ideal, grand [plans] for the future. Afterward, they end up doing whatever they can, but their longing is for great and beautiful things. And you all are craftsmen of the future. Why? Because inside of you all you have three desires: the desire of beauty.

You like beauty, and when you make music, do theatre, make paintings – things of beauty – you are searching for that beauty, you are researchers of beauty. First. Second:  you are prophets of goodness. You all like goodness, to be good. And this goodness is contagious, it helps all others. And also – third-, you are thirsty for truth: to search for the truth. «But, Father, I have the truth!» But you are mistaken, because you can’t have truth, we don’t carry it, it is found. It is an encounter with the truth, that is God, but it must be looked for. And these three desires that you have in your heart, you should bring them forward, to the future, and make a future with beauty, with goodness and with truth.

Do you understand? This is the challenge: your challenge. But if you are lazy, if you are sad  – and this is something ugly, a sad young person – if you are sad…that beauty will not be beauty, that goodness will not be goodness and that truth will be something or other… Think about this: setting your sightson a great ideal, the ideal of making a world of goodness, beauty and truth. This, you can do, you have the power to do it. If you do not do it, it’s because of laziness. This is what I wanted to tell you, this is what I wanted to tell you.

I wanted to tell you this, to tell you: courage, go forward, make noise. Where there is youth, there should be noise. Then, we’ll adjust things, but the dreams of a young person always make noise. Go forward! In life there will always be people with proposals to curb, to block your way. Please, go against the current. Be courageous, courageous: go against the current. And that there will be someone who says: «No, but this… I drink a bit of alcohol, take some drugs and I’m getting ahead.» No! Go against the current of this civilization that is doing so much harm. Do you understand this? To go against the current; and this means to make noise, to go forward, but with the values of beauty, of goodness and of truth. This is what I wanted to tell you. I want to wish you all well, a good work, joy in the heart: joyful youth!

And for this I would like to give you the Blessing. But first, all together, we will pray to Our Lady who is the Mother of beauty, the Mother of goodness and the Mother of truth, that she gives us this grace of courage because Our Lady was courageous, she had courage, this woman! She was good, good, good! Let us ask her, who is in Heaven, who is our Mother, that she give us the grace of courage to go forward and against the current. All together, as you are, we pray a Hail Mary to Our Lady.

 [Hail Mary]


And I ask you all to pray for me, because this work is an «unhealthy» job, it doesn’t do well…[laughter] Pray for me!

[Translation by Junno Arocho Esteves]
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