Pope Francis called on youth to protect the environment and to “stand upright while everything is falling apart.”
This came during a Sunday Mass in the Vatican on Sunday, on the occasion of the diocesan World Youth Day.
He praised young people for their efforts to protect the environment, encouraging them to “be the critical conscience of society.”
Furthermore, he told young people they had been “entrusted with an exciting but also a challenging task: to stand tall while everything around us seems to be collapsing; to be sentinels prepared to see the light in night visions; to be builders amid the ruins; to be capable of dreaming.”
Francis expressed thanks “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.”
He discussed the fact that young people are calling out the destruction of our natural environment, saying “we need this.”
The Pope added that in a world that “thinks only of present gain, that tends to stifle grand ideals, you have not lost the ability to dream.”
“Be free and authentic, be the critical conscience of society,” Francis concluded.