Listen to the youth, Pope says. Catholic youth are leading dramatic calls for our energy systems, societies and economy get on a 1.5 C path that allows all to live and flourish, with dignity and justice, now.

March 3, 2019

Catholic youth are leading dramatic calls for our energy systems, societies and economy get on a 1.5 C path that allows all to live and flourish, with dignity and justice, now.

Excerpt from La Croix, 23 Feb 2019

“I would like to say to the youth, in the name of all of us adults: forgive us if, often, we have not listened to you, if, instead of opening our hearts, we have filled your ears,” Pope Francis said on Oct. 28, 2018 at the closing Mass of the Synod of Bishops on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment.

This was a way of recalling that “in the Church, the sin of the faithful is assumed by the pope, just as in a company, the error of a subordinate is assumed by his hierarchical superior,” said Dominican Philippe-Marie Margelidon.

That does not mean that adults no longer need to apologize for not listening to youth. On the contrary, they are being urged to do so even more.

However, said Collaud, “when Pope Francis asks for forgiveness on behalf of abuser priests, he always speaks in the plural – “we have let …. develop”, “we’ve badly managed…”

This means, according to the Swiss theologian, that “the pope is not thinking so much as a hierarchical leader, but as a member of the Body of Christ. When a body allows this type of sin to develop within it, there is undeniably an issue of collective responsibility shared by all members of that body.”

These words recall the idea of “structures of sin” espoused by St John-Paul II.

“Because I am my brother’s keeper, when my brother errs, I share the wrong he commits,” explains Thierry Collaud, alluding to Cain’s famous response after he killed his brother Abel. (Gen.4:9).

Pope Francis had taken over this Biblical response for his own account at a prayer for peace in the Vatican in 2013. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” he asked. “Yes, you are your brother’s keeper! Being a human person means being one another’s keepers!”

“Just as Christ took the sin of the world upon himself, the Church needs to purify itself ceaselessly from the wrongs committed by its members and sometimes its highest representatives,” said Father Margelidon.

Like his predecessors, Pope John Paul sometimes apologizes for the past misdeeds of the Church. He did it for example in Bolivia in 2015 for “the crimes perpetrated by the Church against indigenous peoples during what is erroneously termed the conquest of the Americas.”