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Rome Reports

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Pope to Japanese youth: Fewer "selfies" and more time with others

Pope Francis entered the Cathedral of Holy Mary to begin a conversation with the youth of Japan. This couple welcomed him.

"About 900 young people are gathered here today to listen to you."

Another three youth told Pope Francis their testimonies. He could not contain himself and warned he would improvise, instead of reading his written script.

When I say something that is not already translated, he will translate it. Ok?

The pope was moved by Leonardo's story. He was humiliated in school by classmates who laughed at him for being overweight and because he was from a different country. 

I want to tell everyone one thing that will serve you in life. To look at a person with contempt is to look him or her up and down. This translates to: I am superior and you are inferior. Yet, there is only one way that is right and fair to look at a person from top to bottom to help lift him or her up.

Pope Francis also reflected on the problem of narcissism. He told young people that if they want to mature, they should stop living for themselves and live for others. They should take fewer "selfies" and leave more room for others.

Many things have been invented, but thank God there are still no 'selfies' of the soul. To be happy, we need to ask others for help. We need to have the photo taken by another, that is, to leave ourselves and go out to others. Learn to ask yourself that question. Not 'what do I live for' but 'for whom do I live?' With whom do I share my life?

The pope also recalled there was a group of refugees among those present. He asked young people to treat them as family and not as strangers.

At the end of the meeting, Pope Francis received a special gift: this kimono with phrases in several languages, including some like "we love you," written in Spanish.

Javier Romero
Melissa Butz