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Speaking to Argentine youth, Pope depicts a culture in crisis

July 26, 2013

Pope Francis met on July 25 with World Youth Day pilgrims from his native Argentina, and urged them to bring the message of the Gospel to every part of society.

"I want the Church to go out into the streets," the Pope said. "I want us to defend ourselves against all worldliness, opposition to progress, from that which is comfortable, from that which is clericalism, from all that which means being closed up in ourselves."

The Pope had made a special request to meet with young people from Argentina, adding the event to his schedule for World Youth Day. He spoke to the group at the cathedral in Rio de Janeiro.

Making his familiar argument that the Church exists in order to spread the Gospel, the Pope said that Catholic parishes, schools, and institutions must all be oriented toward that fundamental mission. Otherwise, he said, "they become non-governmental organizations, and the Church must not be an NGO."

Pope Francis told the young Argentines that our society has become unhealthy-- that "this global civilization has gone beyond its limits." The cult of wealth, he said, has skewed public perceptions of value. In particular, he decried the tendency to measure all things-- including people-- according to standards of economic productivity. The result, he said, is a society that pays no attention to the young and the elderly, "the two peaks that form our culture."


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