Pope Francis on November 21 praised the young people for being “critical of environmental pollution” and encouraged them to “be passionate about the truth.”
“Don’t be afraid to criticize! We need your criticism. Many of you, for example, are critical of environmental pollution. We need this! Be free in criticism,” said the pontiff.
In a Mass with hundreds of young people in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis told them to be the “critical conscience of society.”
The pontiff applauded them for “having the courage to swim against the current” and for being “free and authentic.”
Pope Francis told the youth to keep on swimming against the current, not the daily temptation to swim against other people… but rather against the unhealthy current of our own selfishness, closed-mindedness and rigidity, that often seeks like-minded groups to survive.
“You have been entrusted with an exciting but also challenging task,’’ the pontiff said, ”to stand tall while everything around us seems to be collapsing.”
Pope Francis expressed his gratitude to the young people “for all those times when you work courageously to make your dreams come true, when you keep believing in the light even in dark moments, when you commit yourselves passionately to making our world more beautiful and humane.”
“Thank you for all those times when you cultivate the dream of fraternity, work to heal the wounds of God’s creation, fight to ensure respect for the dignity of the vulnerable and spread the spirit of solidarity and sharing,” he said.
The Vatican announced in October that the pontiff is attending the youth jamboree in Lisbon, Portugal on August 1-6, 2023.