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Young people offer new hope to the world, pope says

MANILA, Dec. 31, 2011—Highlighting the contribution young people can make in the society marked with growing discontent due to the crisis happening in the world of labor and economy, Pope Benedict XVI said the young can offer new hope to the world if they are educated in justice and peace.

The pope said he is convinced that the young people, with their enthusiasm and idealism, can contribute in the building of a more humane society.

With education as theme, the pope’s message for the 45th World Day of Peace on January 1 also stressed the role of parents, educators, leaders in the various spheres of religious, social, political, economic and cultural life, as well as the media in forming the young in the values of justice and peace.

“Attentiveness to young people and their concerns, the ability to listen to them and appreciate them, is not merely something expedient; it represents a primary duty for society as a whole, for the sake of building a future of justice and peace,” the pope said in his message titled “Educating Young People in Justice and Peace.”

He said it is the task of every member of society to teach young people “an appreciation of the positive value of life” and awaken in them “a desire to spend their lives in the service of the Good.”

Citing the young people’s participation in various demonstrations across the globe calling for societal change, the pope said the young people’s concerns revealed their desire to look to the future with solid hope.

But he also noted that faced with many problems in and outside the home, young people are unsure of their potential to contribute in the transformation of societal structures.

“At the present time, they are experiencing apprehension about many things: they want to receive an education which prepares them more fully to deal with the real world, they see how difficult it is to form a family and to find stable employment; they wonder if they can really contribute to political, cultural and economic life in order to build a society with a more human and fraternal face,” the pontiff said.

Family as first school

Pope Benedict XVI said that the family is the first school where the young are formed in values and trained in justice and peace.

He said that the parents are the first educators from whom children learn the human and Christian values that shape their character as persons.

But he also noted the challenges facing modern families today, saying that “we are living in a world where families, and life itself, are constantly threatened and not infrequently fragmented.”

He said the efforts of parents to provide an adequate livelihood for their children often lead them to “working conditions that are often incompatible with family responsibilities,” that sometimes deprive the young of their presence.

“This presence makes it possible to share more deeply in the journey of life and thus to pass on experiences and convictions gained with the passing of the years, experiences and convictions which can only be communicated by spending time together,” he said.

Urging the parents not to get discouraged, the pope exhorted them to teach their children “by the examples of their lives to put their hope before all else in God, the one source of authentic justice and peace.”

Other sectors share the task

The Holy Father also called on educators of their responsibility to ensure that the young be accorded the dignity they deserve and help them develop their God-given gifts.

“May they reassure families that their children can receive an education that does not conflict with their consciences and their religious principles,” the pope said.

Reminding political leaders of their task to provide assistance to families and educational institutions, the Holy Father asked them to “give young people a transparent image of politics as a genuine service to the good of all.”

He also appealed to media to make a significant contribution to the education of young people by not only informing but also forming the minds of their audiences.

But even as he called on various sectors to help the young people, the pope also reminded the youth that “they too are responsible for their education, including their education in justice and peace” and that they should also find “the courage to live by the same high standards that they set for others.”

Be steadfast

He encouraged young people to remain steadfast in the face of difficulties and “not be afraid to make a commitment, to face hard work and sacrifice, [and] choose the paths that demand fidelity and constancy, humility and dedication.”

In the same way that the young can look up to adults as role models, the pope said the youth can also set themselves as examples and inspiration to adults, as they “seek to overcome injustice and corruption and strive to build a better future.”

“The Church has confidence in you, follows you, encourages you and wishes to offer you the most precious gift she has: the opportunity to raise your eyes to God, to encounter Jesus Christ, who is himself justice and peace,” the pope said.

He further urged the faithful to sincerely work for the attainment of peace in the world.

“Let us look with greater hope to the future; let us encourage one another on our journey; let us work together to give our world a more humane and fraternal face; and let us feel a common responsibility towards present and future generations, especially in the task of training them to be people of peace and builders of peace,” the Holy Father said. (CBCPNews)