Update the Church, young people tell Pope

The church needs to update its teachings on issues like same-sex marriage and contraception, young people told Pope Francis last week.

Three hundred young people who came from all over the world to meet Francis also had words for the Church hierarchy.

It should be a “transparent, welcoming, honest, inviting, communicative, accessible, joyful and interactive community,” they said.

Their voices were swelled by about 15,000 others who weren’t able to attend the meeting. They took part via six different Facebook groups, in different languages.

The Facebook groups, which were moderated by young people, discussed the same topics as those who attended the Rome gathering.

The document released at the end of the gathering says “A credible Church is one which is not afraid to allow itself be seen as vulnerable.”

The document calls on the Catholic Church to better include young people at all levels of its global community and notes women are “not given an equal place” in church leadership.

“These positions need to be on a parish, diocesan, national and international level, even on a commission to the Vatican. We strongly feel that we are ready to be leaders.”

Another issue delegates mentioned was that the Church needs to go out to them. It should try to find creative new ways to encounter people: bars, coffee shops, parks, gyms, stadiums and any other popular cultural centers.

Another section of the document says “A credible Church is one which is not afraid to allow itself to be seen as vulnerable. The Church should be sincere in admitting its past and present wrongs.”

There were different views among the participants about a number of issues.

Examples include contraception, abortion, homosexuality, cohabitation, marriage, and how the priesthood is perceived in different realities in the Church.

“What is important to note is that irrespective of their level of understanding of Church teaching, there is still disagreement and ongoing discussion among young people on these polemical issues,” the document says.

“As a result, they may want the Church to change her teaching or at least have access to a better explanation and to more formation on these questions.”

The young people’s views will provide input into this October’s synod of bishops in Rome on “Young People, the Faith and the Discernment of Vocation.”




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