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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis to youth at Pre-Synodal Meeting: Take risks, speak frankly and freely

Pope Francis devoted an entire morning to 300 young people from around the world. The Holy Father wanted to help them prepare the Synod of Bishops on the Faith and Vocational Discernment, scheduled for this coming October.

The pope told them the Church needs them to speak clearly and fearlessly. 

“I invite you all this week to express yourselves frankly, with complete freedom. I have said it before, and I'll repeat it – with a tough face. You all are the stakeholders, and it's important you speak openly. 'But I'm embarrassed, the cardinal is going to hear me.' Whatever he might hear, he's prepared. I assure you whatever you say will be taken seriously.”

Pope Francis wants attendees to ponder the issues that cause youth to leave the Church or abandon their faith, as well as to brainstorm creative solutions. 

“A man, a woman who doesn't take risks, doesn't mature. An institution that makes decisions without taking risks, will remain a little girl, it won't grow. Take risks while guided by prudence and advice, but go forward. Without taking a risk, do you know what happens to a young person? He or she gets old. He or she retires in 20 years. A young person gets old, and the Church gets old.”

The pope also heard the reports of five young people about the Church's situation in their continents. 

As only bishops will participate in the Synod in October, these young people will prepare a working document that will guide conversations. Input from more youth through Facebook will also be included.