Church “not a club for the elderly”

club for the elderly

In a video message released ahead of World Youth Day (WYD), Pope Francis emphasised the vital role of young people in ensuring the vibrancy and longevity of the Catholic Church, saying the church is “not a club for the elderly.”

Addressing questions from youth worldwide in anticipation of WYD 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal, the Pope urged for a harmonious coexistence between generations, emphasising that the Church needs the active participation of the youth to remain alive and relevant.

One young woman told Pope Francis that she sees only older people at her church and asked him if the church has become something only for older people.

“The church is not a club for the elderly, nor is it a youth club,” the pope responded. “If it becomes something for old people, it is going to die.”

Citing St John Paul II, the pope said “if you live with young people, you will also become young, and the church needs young people to not grow old.”

Taking inspiration from the theme for this year’s World Youth Day, “Mary arose and went with haste” – from St Luke’s Gospel, Pope Francis drew parallels to the proactive nature of the Virgin Mary when she received the call to be the mother of God.

He encouraged young people to follow her example and embark on journeys of service and compassion, eschewing self-centredness and embracing altruism.

The Pope’s vision for World Youth Day includes fostering a world characterised by love and unity among all, transcending boundaries and divisions.

The pontiff called for a world unafraid of openly witnessing the Gospel, embracing joy as a testament to the Christian faith.

He passionately asserted, “If we Christians have no joy, we are not credible, no one will believe us.”

In another unorthodox communication move, Pope Francis engaged in a surprise Facebook Live session with an Italian Franciscan priest, Father Enzo Fortunato, known for his active presence on social media and his admiration for the Pope.

During this encounter, which marked the first time a pope participated in a live social media broadcast not conducted by Vatican platforms, the Pope imparted a heartfelt message to Fortunato’s followers.

With warmth and humility, Pope Francis greeted the online audience as “good people,” expressing gratitude for their prayers and support.

He likened the Word of God to life-sustaining water, encouraging the 1,600 viewers to nourish themselves with it daily, as it is vital for personal growth and the Church’s collective progress.

The Pope concluded the session with his blessing and a call for continued prayers for the Church.


UCA News


CathNews New Zealand

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