On Sunday, Pope Francis hailed young people for their efforts to protect the environment and advised them to “be society’s critical conscience.”
Francis said Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, which was packed with hundreds of young believers, to commemorate a worldwide church day dedicated to youth.
“You have been entrusted with an exciting but also challenging task,” Francis said, “to stand tall while everything around us appears to be collapsing.”
Francis thanked his followers “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.”
Many young people, he said, have spoken out against environmental pollution.
“This is what we require,” Francis stated.
In a culture that “thinks solely of immediate gain, that strives to suffocate lofty aspirations,” the pontiff added, “you have not lost the power to dream.”
“Be free and true, be society’s critical conscience,” Francis encouraged the youth.
His pope has emphasised social justice and environmental protection.
The pope is due to meet with young people from all over the world in August 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal, for the Catholic church’s jamboree.