Pope to Estonian youth: you are angry about sexual scandals that aren't clearly condemned
Pope Francis was greeted in Tallinn, Estonia, by the sweet sounds of these young children, as others lined up to bring him flowers and the great gift of 500 apple trees.
He had a red-carpet welcome as he made his way into St. Charles' Lutheran Church for thunderous applause by young people, in a country where 70 percent describe themselves as “non-religious.”
He was welcomed by the Lutheran Archbishop Urmas Viilma, who explained to the pope in his native tongue that "Estonia is not a country where young people fill the churches everyday, like they have today at the invitation of the pope."
It was a very musical event, which prefaced the testimonies of three young people.
A Lutheran, named Lisbel, spoke about her life with an alcoholic, violent father and how she found joy through Christ.
Second, was a young Estonian Orthodox who spoke about his past agnosticism, yet how through further studies, he began to see God's presence.
Finally a Catholic man spoke about his work in theater and how he made the final step to know God, especially through beauty.
After listening to each of them, the pope commented with a few words. He said he knows youth feel misunderstood and want someone to accompany them without judging them. He also told them he knows what youth think of the Church.
“'Can’t you see this?' Some of you who are a bit more forthright might even say to us, 'Don’t you see that nobody is listening to you any more, or believes what you have to say?' We ourselves need to be converted; we have to realize that in order to stand by your side we need to change many situations that, in the end, put you off.”
He said that he's heard the voices of the youth, who have told him they don't go to church because it has nothing meaningful to say and they want to be left alone.
“They are upset by sexual and economic scandals that do not meet with clear condemnation, by our unpreparedness to really appreciate the lives and sensibilities of the young, and simply by the passive role we assign them. These are just a few of your complaints. We want to respond to them. As you yourselves put it, we want to be a 'transparent, welcoming, honest, inviting, communicative, accessible, joyful and interactive community.'”
The Holy Father also admitted that sometimes it appears as though love is dead, because marriages don't last and nobody cares for migrants. He encouraged the youth to be the change saying:
“It might seem that love is dead, like Kerli Kõiv said, but we know that it is not, and that we have a word say, a message to bring, with few words and many actions. Love is not dead. It calls us and sends us forth.”
They finished the encounter by standing and reciting the Our Father all together in Estonian.
Then Pope Francis gave a rosary to each of the 10 Christian leaders present from different beliefs before he exited from the cathedral.