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Look beyond conventional secularism, Pope urges in World Youth Day message

Catholic World News - September 03, 2010

In his message of World Youth Day 2011, Pope Benedict XVI tells young people that their ultimate happiness will depend not on their career prospects but on their relationships with Jesus Christ.

While young people rightly devote a great amount of attention to their education and job prospects, the Pope writes, they should look beyond the business world, consider life’s greater challenges, and pay attention to their spiritual lives.

It is only natural for young people to want something more in life, the Pope says. He recalls his own youth in Nazi Germany, when his generation was “hemmed in by the dominant power structure. So we to break out into the open, to experience the whole range of human possibilities.”

The Pope encouraged today’s youth to pursue the same ambitions, and to look beyond society’s conventions for the real answers to life’s challenges. In particular, the Pope said, young people should not be constrained by the secular attitudes that “consider faith a purely private issue with no relevance for the life of society.”

In the message the Pope recalled the last worldwide observance, held in Sydney, Australia, in 2008. “That gathering, like those on previous occasions, bore rich fruit in the lives of many young people and in the life of the whole Church,” he said. The Pontiff said he hoped for a similar result in Madrid, “at a time when Europe greatly needs to rediscover its Christian roots.”

World Youth Day will be celebrated in August 2011 in Madrid. The Pope’s message for the observance was dated August 6—the feast of the Transfiguration—and released by the Vatican on September 3.

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