“Prepare young people well for the future”

Pope Francis has called on families to prepare children and young people well for the future. In a video message to participants at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, the pope recalled the importance of the family.

The Catholic Church's ninth World Meeting of Families has opened with a church service in Dublin. The pope, who is traveling to the Irish capital this weekend, sent a video message at the opening Tuesday night. In it, he emphasized the role of the family in society and in raising children.

"Young people are the future," he said. "It is very important to prepare the young today for the future, now in the moment, but with the roots of the past," Francis said in the message, which lasted about three and a half minutes.

Pope: strengthen community and reconciliation

The meeting in Dublin is an opportunity to celebrate "the beauty of the family" and offers families from all over the world the chance to meet and support each other, the pope said. Families themselves, he said, know best the challenges of living love in fidelity and raising children "with healthy values to community," to love and care for one another.

Pope Francis is expected to arrive in Ireland on Saturday for a visit that will last about 36 hours. He hoped that the family reunion and his visit could also help strengthen fellowship and reconciliation among Christians in Ireland, Francis stressed.

Pope to attend "festival of families" on Saturday. For the closing mass on Sunday, up to 500.000 faithful expected.

Among others, religious announced protest

The meeting is overshadowed by abuse scandals in the Catholic Church in the U.S. and Ireland, among other countries. According to Irish media, the pope will meet with those affected during his visit. Earlier, in a letter to all Christians worldwide, he acknowledged failures in addressing sexual abuse. In recent days, a report of decades of sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic Church of Pennsylvania had caused horror.

Several groups, including homosexual associations, announced protests during the pope's visit. Irish religious Marie Collins also wanted to echo that, according to media reports.

She – herself a victim of sexual abuse – had left the papal commission for the protection of minors last year in protest. The controversial archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who is accused of covering up sexual abuse, had canceled his participation in advance.

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