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Pope Francis to Argentinian youth: I want the Church to be in the streets
July 26, 2013: Pope Francis on Thursday met with young people from Argentina gathered in Rio’s Cathedral to greet him. The unscheduled late morning event saw the Pope speaking off the cuff in his native Spanish after the welcoming words of the President of the Argentinian Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop José Maria Arancedo.
After words of thanks to the Argentinian youth for their presence, both inside the Cathedral and outside where he noted some 30,000 young people were standing in the rain, the Pope revealed that following a special personal request, the organizer of the Papal trip had managed to set up this event.
To a cheering congregation, many of whom were dressed in the blue and white colours of Argentina, Pope Francis said: “I would like to tell you what my expectations are regarding this World Youth Day” said Pope Francis “I would like us to make noise, I would like those inside the Dioceses to go out into the open; I want the Church to be in the streets; I want us to defend ourselves against all that is worldliness, comfort, being closed and turned within – Parishes, colleges and institutions must get out otherwise they risk becoming NGOs, and the Church is not a Non-Governmental Organization”.
And Pope Francis spoke with concern of this moment of history in which material wealth is worshiped and in which a philosophy which excludes the young and the old risks perpetrating what he called a kind of hidden euthanasia.
The young – he said - who do not have the experience and the dignity of work, and the aged who are not allowed to speak are being marginalized.
And Pope Francis invited young people to go out and to fight for these values: he urged the aged to speak out, to pass on history and memory, and said that young people must not be against the elderly: “they must listen to them”.
Young people and old people in this moment of history – the Pope continued - are condemned to the same destiny: exclusion. “Don’t let yourselves be excluded!”
And Pope Francis invited the youth to embrace the way of the Cross, the incarnation of Jesus. He urged them to not water down their faith which is something solid, and encouraged them to read the Beatitudes: Matthew 25.
And almost apologizing for having to speak to them from a distance, the Pope said he felt “as if in a cage”, but he acknowledged security reasons and asked for prayers.