“Danger of abuse of power and trust”

German representatives at the youth synod © Stefano dal Pozzolo (CBA)

The second week of the Youth Synod in the Vatican is over. The conclusion? From the point of view of German-speaking synod participants, he said, the Catholic Church needs to understand vocations and accompaniment of young people in a more differentiated and comprehensive way.

The danger of abuse of power and trust must also be kept in mind; those who accompany people should therefore choose supervision for themselves, explained the German-speaking participants at the World Synod of Bishops on Youth. In their report (Relatio) on the second part of the working document, which the Vatican published on Tuesday, it is after the analysis of the life worlds of young people about interpretations from a Christian perspective.

Deeper look demanded

Although the Church fundamentally affirms the plural, "increasingly secular world", it is not the Church's duty to "give the experience of Christ's love". However, the concerns that young people repeatedly mention – freedom, justice, sexuality and partnership, digitalization, the role of women – demand a "deeper look". The bishops wanted to "resist the temptation that we already know everything about how the lives of young people should unfold and what their successful lives should look like," the text reads.

The theme of vocation

It is also important to have a sense of the uniqueness of each person. This is an experience that is also important for non-believers, he said. In addition, the Church offers opportunities through its sacraments – baptism, communion, confirmation and marriage – to shape one's life as a Christian, both privately and socially. This desire is clearly noticeable among many young believers, it says. The narrower sense of vocation then includes a life as a deacon, priest or member of a religious order.

Communicating the experience of Christ's love

In order to be able to recognize their own vocation, young people must experience that they are "absolutely and first of all loved by Christ. This is often lacking. It is the task of all Christians to convey this concrete experience to young people.

The German-speaking synod working group includes Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Bishops Felix Genn (Munster) and Stephan Oster (Passau), Auxiliary Bishop Johannes Wubbe (Osnabruck), as well as the president of the Federation of German Catholic Youth (BDKJ), Thomas Andonie, and Jesuit Clemens Blattert.

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