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A question was asked of the Pope, during the in-flight press conference returning from World Youth Day in Panama, about youth: “[There are] many young people who are fallen away from the Church or who have difficulties. In your opinion, where do young people find these difficulties, what are the reasons that drive them away from the Church?”
The Pope replied:
Reasons - Lack - Witness - Christians - Priests
“There are so many reasons! Some are personal, but more are general. I believe that first of all it is the lack of witness from Christians, from priests, from bishops. I won’t say the witness of the popes because that would be too much… but it is also that! The lack of witness!
“If a pastor is an entrepreneur or merely the organizer of a pastoral plan, or if a pastor is not close to the people, this pastor does not give true witness. The pastor must be with the people, he must go ahead of the flock to find the way, he must be in the midst of the flock to experience the smell of the sheep and understand what the people feel and what they need, how they feel, and he must go behind the flock to keep the rearguard. But if a shepherd does not live with passion, people feel abandoned, orphaned.
Catholics - History - Repeats - Jesus - Teachers
“I am afraid of Catholics like that, eh? Who believe they are perfect! But history repeats itself: Jesus was like that with the teachers of the law, wasn’t he? ‘I thank you Lord because I am not like this this man…poor sinner…’ This is the lack of witness.”
These words of the Pontiff about the abandonment of the Church certainly contain some truth: the need for witness, the need for the closeness of pastors, at every level, to the people, and the problem of the hypocrisy of Catholics (But...
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