Synod on the Youth, FULL TEXT, English Translation

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The synodal event we have lived
“On all I will pour out my Spirit; your sons and daughters will be your prophets
young men will have visions and your elders will have dreams “( Acts 2:17, see Gl 3:
1). It is the experience
that we have done in this Synod, walking together and listening to the voice
of the Spirit. He amazed us with the richness of his gifts, he filled us with his courage
and of his strength to bring hope to the world.
We walked together, with Peter’s successor, who confirmed us in faith and there
has reinvigorated the enthusiasm of the mission. Although coming from very different
contexts from
cultural and ecclesial point of view, we have felt a spiritual harmony from the
a desire for dialogue and true empathy. We worked together, sharing what
he cared more about us, communicating our concerns, not hiding our own
labors. Many interventions have generated in us evangelical emotion and compassion:
we felt only one body that suffers and rejoices. We want to share with everyone the
of grace that we have lived and transmit to our Churches and to the whole world the
joy of
The presence of young people marked a novelty: through them the Synod was
resounded in the
voice of a whole generation. Walking with them, pilgrims to the tomb of Peter, we
experienced that closeness creates the conditions for the Church to be a space for
dialogue and
testimony of fraternity that fascinates. The strength of this experience overcomes
every effort and
weakness. The Lord keeps repeating to us: Do not be afraid, I am with you.
The preparation process
We have benefited greatly from the contributions of the Episcopates, and from the
contribution of
pastors, religious, lay people, experts, educators and many others. From the beginning
the young people were
involved in the synodal process: the online questionnaire , many personal
contributions and above all
The pre-synodal meeting is its eloquent sign. Their contribution was essential, as
in the story of the loaves and fish: Jesus was able to perform the miracle thanks to the
availability of a boy who generously offered what he had (see Jn 6 : 8-11).
All the contributions have been summarized in the Instrumentum laboris , which has
constituted the solid
basis of the comparison during the weeks of the Assembly. Now the final
document collects the
result of this process and relaunches it towards the future: it expresses what the Synod
Fathers have
recognized, interpreted and chosen in the light of the Word of God.
The Final Document of the Synodal Assembly
It is important to clarify the relationship between the Instrumentum laboris and
the Final Document . The
first is the unitary and synthetic frame of reference emerged from the two years of
listening; The second one
it is the fruit of discernment achieved and gathers the generative thematic nuclei on
which the Fathers
Synodal have concentrated with particular intensity and passion. We therefore
recognize the
diversity and the complementarity of these two texts.
This document is offered to the Holy Father (see F RANCESCO , Episcopalis
communio , n.
18; Education , art. 35 §5) and also to the whole Church as the fruit of this
Synod. Since the
The synodal journey has not yet been completed and foresees an implementation
phase (see Episcopalis
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communio , n. 19-21), the final document will be a map to guide the next steps that
the Church is called to move.
* In this document the term “Synod” refers to the whole from time to time
synodal process in progress or the General Assembly held from 3 to 28 October 2018.
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Jesus walks with the disciples of Emmaus
We have recognized in the episode of the disciples of Emmaus (see Lk 24 : 13-35) a
paradigmatic text to understand the ecclesial mission in relation to the young
generations. This page expresses well what we have experienced at the Synod and
we would like that each of our particular Church could live in relation to the
young. Jesus
he walks with the two disciples who have not understood the meaning of his story and
they are
moving away from Jerusalem and the community. To stay in their company, travel the
road with them. He questions them and puts himself in patient listening to their
version of the facts for
help them recognize what they are experiencing. Then, with affection and energy, he
announces them
Word, leading them to interpret the events they lived in the light of the Script
they opened their eyes “( Lk 24,31), is interpretative and provides some keys for
fundamental to the Synod theme. The third part, entitled “They left without delay”
( Lk
24.33), collects the choices for a spiritual, pastoral and missionary conversion.
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“And here, on that same day two of them were on their way to a village of
name Emmaus, about eleven kilometers from Jerusalem, and conversing with each
everything that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus
in person
he approached and walked with them ” ( Lk 24 : 13-15).
In this passage the evangelist photographs the need of the two wayfarers to find a
meaning for them
events that have lived. The attitude of Jesus that sets out is underlined
with them. The Risen Christ wants to work his way together with every young man,
accepting his expectations,
even if disappointed, and his hopes, even if inadequate. Jesus walks, listens, shares.
Listen and see with empathy
The value of listening
Listening is a meeting of freedom, which requires humility, patience, willingness to
understand, commitment to process the answers in a new way. Listening transforms
the heart of
those who live it, above all when one places oneself in an interior attitude of harmony
docility to the Spirit. It is therefore not just a collection of information, nor a strategy
reach a goal, but it is the form in which God himself relates to his people. God indeed
he sees the misery of his people and listens to their lamentations, lets themselves be
touched in the depths and descends
to free him (see Exodus 3,7-8). The Church then, through listening, enters the
movement of
God who, in the Son, comes to meet every human being.
Young people want to be heard
Young people are called to continuously make choices that guide theirs
existence; express the desire to be heard, recognized, accompanied. Lot of
they experiment how their voice is not considered interesting and useful in the social
ecclesial. In various contexts there is a lack of attention to their cry, in particular a
that of the poorest and most exploited, and also the lack of available and capable
to listen.
Listening to the Church
There are no lack of initiatives and consolidated experiences in the Church through
which i
young people can experience hospitality, listening and making their voices heard. The
recognizes, however, that the ecclesial community can not always make the attitude
that is evident
the Risen One had towards the disciples of Emmaus, when, before enlightening them
with the Word,
he asked them: “What are these talks that you are making among you along the way?”
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( Lk 24.17). Sometimes there is a tendency to provide ready-made answers and ready
recipes without them
let the youth questions emerge in their novelty and catch the provocation.
Listening makes it possible to exchange gifts in a context of empathy. It allows the
young people to donate their contribution to the community, helping them to grasp
new sensitivities and
ask unpublished questions. At the same time it sets the conditions for an
announcement of the Gospel
that truly reaches the heart, in an incisive and fruitful way.
Listening to qualified pastors and lay people
Listening is a qualifying moment in the ministry of pastors, and in the first place
place of the bishops, who however often find themselves burdened by many
commitments and are struggling to find one
adequate time for this indispensable service. Many have noted the shortage of people
expert and dedicated to accompaniment. To believe in the theological and pastoral
value of listening
it implies a rethinking to renew the ordinarily ordinary forms of ministry
presbyteral is expressed and a verification of its priorities. Furthermore, the Synod
recognizes the
need to prepare consecrated and lay men and women who are qualified for
the accompaniment of young people. The charism of listening that the Holy Spirit
gives rise to
community could also receive a form of institutional recognition for the service
The diversity of contexts and cultures
A plural world
10. The composition of the Synod itself made visible the presence and contribution of
different regions of the world, highlighting the beauty of being universal
Church. Even in one
the context of growing globalization, the Synod Fathers asked to highlight the
many differences between contexts and cultures, even within the same country.
religious traditions and in which Christianity is a minority and sometimes recent
presence. In others
territories then the Christian communities and young people who are part of them are
subject to persecution.
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Exclusion and marginalization
12. Then there are differences between countries and within each of them
social structure and the economic resources that separate, sometimes very clearly,
those who have access to an increasing amount of opportunities offered by
globalization, by those who live on the margins of society or in the rural world
they suffer the effects of forms of exclusion and waste. Various interventions have
reported the
need for the Church to take courageously on their side and participate in the
alternatives that remove exclusion and marginalization, strengthening reception,
accompaniment and integration. This is why it is necessary to become aware of it
of the indifference that marks the life of many Christians too, to overcome it with
the deepening of the social dimension of faith.
Men and women
13. We can not forget the difference between men and women with their peculiar
gifts, the
specific sensibilities and experiences of the world. This difference can be a sphere in
forms of domination, exclusion and discrimination arise from which all societies and
the Church
they need to get free themselves.
The Bible presents man and woman as equal partners before God (see Gn 5: 2): each
domination and discrimination based on sex offends human dignity. It presents
also the difference between the sexes as a mystery so much constitutive of the human
being as well
irreducible to stereotypes. The relationship between man and woman is then
understood in terms of one
vocation to live together in reciprocity and in dialogue, in communion and in
(see Gn 1,27-29; 2,21-25) in all areas of human experience: life of a couple, work,
education and others. God has entrusted the earth to their covenant.
Cultural colonization
14. Many Synodal Fathers from non-Western contexts point out that in their own
Countries globalization carries with it authentic forms of cultural colonization, which
eradicate young people from the cultural and religious affiliations from which they
come. It is necessary
a commitment of the Church to accompany them in this passage without losing the
more precious than their identity.
The interpretations of the secularization process appear different. While from some it
lived as a precious opportunity to purify oneself from a habitual religiosity or
based on ethnic and national identities, for others it represents an obstacle to the
transmission of the
wedding ring. In secular societies we also witness a rediscovery of God and
This constitutes for the Church an incentive to recover the importance of its own
of faith, of proclamation and of pastoral accompaniment.
A first look at the Church today
The educational commitment of the Church
15. There are few regions where young people perceive the Church as a presence
lively and engaging, which is also significant for their non-believing or other peers
religions. The educational institutions of the Church seek to welcome all young
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regardless of their religious choices, cultural background and personal situation,
family or social. In this way the Church gives a fundamental contribution to education
of young people in the most diverse parts of the world. This is achieved through
in schools of all levels and in vocational training centers, colleges and schools
universities, but also in youth centers and oratories; this commitment is also
implemented through
the reception of refugees and refugees and the varied commitment in the social
field. In all these
Presence the Church unites the work of education and human promotion with witness
the announcement of the Gospel. When inspired by intercultural and interreligious
dialogue, action
Church education is also appreciated by non-Christians as a form of authenticity
human promotion.
The activities of youth ministry
16. In the Synod journey the need to vocationally qualify the
youth ministry, considering all young people as recipients of pastoral care for
Together we also underlined the need to develop complete pastoral processes, which
from childhood they lead to adult life and enter the Christian community. Yes it is
noted that different parish groups, movements and youth associations realize a
effective process of accompaniment and formation of young people in their life of
World Youth Day – born from a prophetic intuition of St. John
Paul II, who remains a point of reference also for the young people of the third
millennium -, i
National and diocesan meetings play an important role in the lives of many young
people because
they offer a living experience of faith and communion, which helps them to face the
great challenges
of life and to take their place responsibly in society and in the community
ecclesial. These convocations may thus refer to pastoral accompaniment
ordinary of the individual communities, where the reception of the Gospel must be
deepened and
translated into life choices.
The weight of administrative management
17. Many Fathers have pointed out that the weight of administrative tasks absorb
Initiation to the Christian life
19. Many notice how the paths of Christian initiation do not always succeed
introduce boys, teenagers and young people to the beauty of the experience of
faith. When the
community is constituted as a place of communion and as a true family of the children
of God,
expresses a generative force that transmits faith; where instead it yields to the logic of
delegation and bureaucratic organization prevails; Christian initiation is
misunderstood as one
course of religious instruction which usually ends with the sacrament of
Confirmation. IS
It is therefore urgent to rethink the approach of catechesis and the link between
family and community of faith, relying on personal accompaniment processes.
The formation of seminarians and consecrated persons
20. Seminars and training houses are places of great importance in which young
called to the priesthood and to the consecrated life they deepen their own vocational
choice and
they mature in following. Sometimes these environments do not take proper account
of them
previous experience of the candidates, underestimating their importance. This blocks
of the person and risks inducing formal assumptions, rather than development
of the gifts of God and the profound conversion of the heart.
The news of the digital environment
A pervasive reality
21. The digital environment characterizes the contemporary world. Large sections of
they are immersed in an ordinary and continuous way. It is no longer just about
communication tools, but to live in a widely digitized culture that has
very deep impacts on the notion of time and space, on the perception of oneself, of
others and
of the world, on the way to communicate, to learn, to inform oneself, to enter into a
relationship with
the others. An approach to reality that tends to privilege the image compared to
listening and listening to
reading influences the way of learning and the development of the critical sense. It is
now clear that
“The digital environment is not a parallel or purely virtual world, but it is part of
of many people, especially the youngest “(B ENEDIC XVI, Message for
the XLVII World Communications Day ).
The network of opportunities
22. Web and social networks are a place where young people spend a lot of time and
they meet easily, even if not all of them have equal access, particularly in
some regions of the world. They nevertheless constitute an extraordinary opportunity
dialogue, meeting and exchange between people, as well as access to information and
knowledge. Moreover, the digital one is a context of socio-political participation and
active citizenship, and can facilitate the circulation of independent information
capable of
effectively protect the most vulnerable people by revealing violations of their
rights. In
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many web countries and social networks now represent an indispensable place to
and involving young people, including in pastoral initiatives and activities.
The dark side of the network
23. The digital environment is also a territory of solitude, manipulation, exploitation
violence, up to the extreme case of the dark web . Digital media can expose you to the
risk of
dependence, isolation and progressive loss of contact with the concrete reality,
hindering the development of authentic interpersonal relationships. New forms of
violence yes
spread through social media , such as cyberbullying; the web is also a channel of
dissemination of pornography and exploitation of persons for sexual purposes or
through the
24. Finally, gigantic economic interests, capable of realizing, operate in the digital
forms of control as thin as it is invasive, creating mechanisms of manipulation of the
consciences and the democratic process. The operation of many platforms often ends
to encourage the meeting between people who think the same way, hindering
among the differences. These closed circuits facilitate the dissemination of false
information and news,
fomenting prejudices and hatred. The proliferation of fake news is the expression of a
that has lost the sense of truth and bends the facts to particular interests. The
reputation of the
people are jeopardized through online summary processes . The phenomenon also
the Church and its pastors.
Migrants as a paradigm of our time
A pluriform phenomenon
25. Migration phenomena represent a structural and non-structural phenomenon
a transitory emergency. Migrations can take place within the same country
or between different countries. The Church’s concern concerns in particular those who
they flee from war, violence, political or religious persecution, from disasters
natural ones due to climate change and extreme poverty: many of them are
Young people. In general, they are looking for opportunities for themselves and their
families. They dream
a better future and wish to create the conditions for it to be realized.
Many Synod Fathers stressed that migrants are a “paradigm” capable of
enlighten our time and especially the youthful condition, and remind us of it
original condition of the faith, or that of being “foreigners and pilgrims on earth”
( Heb
Violence and vulnerability
26. Other migrants start attracted by Western culture, sometimes nurturing
unrealistic that expose them to heavy disappointments. Unscrupulous traffickers, often
linked to
drug and arms cartels, exploit the weakness of migrants, who along their own
path too often encounter violence, trafficking, psychological and even physical abuse,
unspeakable suffering. The particular vulnerability of non-minor migrants should be
pointed out
accompanied, and the situation of those who are forced to spend many years in the
refugees or who remain stuck in transit countries for a long time, without being able to
course of studies or expressing their talents. In some countries of arrival, migratory
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they raise alarm and fear, often fomented and exploited for political purposes. One
thus spreads
xenophobic mentality, of closing and of refolding on oneself, to which it is necessary
to react with
Stories of separation and meeting
27. Young people who migrate experience separation from their context of origin and
often also a cultural and religious eradication. The rift also affects the communities of
origin, which lose the most vigorous and resourceful elements, and families, in
when one or both parents migrate, leaving their children in their country of origin. The
Church has a
important role as a reference for the young people of these broken families. But those
of the gods
migrants are also stories of encounter between people and between cultures: for
communities and societies in
they are an opportunity for enrichment and integral human development of all. The
welcoming initiatives that refer to the Church have an important role to play
this point of view, and can revitalize the communities capable of realizing them.
The prophetic role of the Church
28. Thanks to the different origins of the Fathers, with regard to the theme of
migrants, the Synod has
seen the meeting of many perspectives, in particular between countries of departure
and countries of arrival.
Furthermore, the alarm cry of those Churches whose members are forced to flee has
from war and persecution and who see in these forced migrations a threat to
their very existence. Just the fact of including all these different within
perspectives puts the Church in a position to exercise a prophetic role towards the
society on the theme of migration.
Recognize and react to all types of abuse
Doing truth and asking for forgiveness
29. The different types of abuse made by some bishops, priests, religious and laity
in those who are victims, including many young people, suffering that can last all
life and to which no repentance can remedy. This phenomenon is widespread in
it also touches the Church and represents a serious obstacle to its mission. The Synod
reaffirms the
firm commitment to the adoption of rigorous prevention measures that prevent it
to repeat itself, starting from the selection and training of those to whom tasks will be
responsibility and education.
Go to the root
30. There are different types of abuse: power, economic, conscience, sexual. It is
evident is the task of eradicating the forms of exercise of authority on which they are
grafted and of
to counteract the lack of responsibility and transparency with which many cases have
been managed. The
desire for domination, lack of dialogue and transparency, forms of double life, the
spiritual emptiness, as well as psychological fragilities, are the terrain on which
corruption flourishes.
Clericalism, in particular, “arises from an elitist and excluding vision of vocation,
which interprets the ministry received as a power to be exercised rather than as a
free and generous service to offer; and this leads to the belief that it belongs to a group
who has all the answers and no longer needs to listen and learn anything or pretend
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to listen “(F RANCESCO , Address to the I General Congregation of the XV Assembly
General of the Synod of Bishops , 3 October 2018).
Gratitude and encouragement
31. The Synod expresses gratitude to those who have the courage to denounce evil
suffered: help the Church to become aware of what happened and the need to react
with decision. He also appreciates and encourages the sincere commitment of
countless lay and lay people,
priests, consecrated persons, consecrated persons and bishops who every day are spent
with honesty and
dedication to the service of young people. Their work is a forest that grows without
making noise.
Many of the young people present at the Synod also expressed gratitude for those
from whom
the great need for reference figures was accompanied and reiterated.
The Lord Jesus, who never abandons his Church, offers her the strength and the tools
for a
new path. Confirming the line of timely “necessary actions and sanctions”
(F RANCESCO , Letter to the People of God , 20 August 2018, n.2 ) and aware that the
mercy demands justice, the Synod recognizes that addressing the issue of abuse in
all its aspects, even with the precious help of young people, can really be an
for a reform of epochal scope.
Family and intergenerational relationships
The family privileged point of reference
32. The family continues to be the main point of reference for young people. THE
children appreciate the love and care of their parents, they care about family ties and
they hope to succeed in forming a family in turn. Undoubtedly the increase of
separations, divorces, second unions and single-parent families can cause large young
suffering and identity crisis. Sometimes they have to take on responsibilities that are
proportionate to their age and force them to become adults ahead of
time. Grandparents offer
often a decisive contribution to affection and religious education: with their wisdom
they are a decisive link in the relationship between generations.
The importance of motherhood and fatherhood
33. Mothers and fathers have distinct but equally important roles as points of
in forming the children and transmitting their faith to them. The maternal figure
continues to have a role that
young people consider it essential for their growth, even if it is not enough
recognized from a cultural, political and working perspective. Many fathers play with
dedication of your role, but we can not hide that, in some contexts, the figure
paternal is absent or evanescent, and in others oppressive or authoritarian. These
ambiguities yes
they also reflect on the exercise of spiritual paternity.
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Relations between generations
34. The Synod recognizes the dedication of many parents and educators who are
committed to
fund in the transmission of values, despite the difficulties of the cultural context. In
regions, the role of the elderly and reverence towards the ancestors are a cornerstone
of education
and contribute strongly to the formation of personal identity. Even the extended
– which in some cultures is the family in the proper sense – plays an important
role. Some
young people, however, feel the family traditions as oppressive and flee under the
pressure of
a globalized culture that sometimes leaves them without reference points. In other
parts of the
world instead between young people and adults there is not a real generational
conflict, but one
mutual strangeness. Sometimes adults do not seek or fail to transmit values
founders of existence or assume youthful styles, reversing the relationship between
generations. In this way the relationship between young people and adults risks
remaining on the plan
emotional, without touching the educational and cultural dimension.
Youth and cultural roots
35. Young people are projected towards the future and face life with energy and
But they are also tempted to focus on the use of the present and sometimes tend to
little attention to the memory of the past from which they come, especially the many
gifts they have
transmitted by parents, grandparents, the cultural baggage of the society in which they
live. Helping i
young people to discover the living richness of the past, making memories of it and
using it for them
own choices and possibilities, it is a true act of love towards them in view of theirs
growth and the choices that they are called to make.
Friendship and peer relationships
36. Alongside intergenerational relationships should not be forgotten those between
peers, who
represent a fundamental experience of interaction and progressive emancipation from
family context of origin. Friendship and confrontation, often also in more or less
structured, offers the opportunity to strengthen social and relational skills in a context
which have not been evaluated and judged. Group experience is also a great resource
for the sharing of faith and for mutual help in witness. The young are
capable of leading other young people and of living a true apostolate among their
Body and affectivity
Changes in progress
37. Young people recognize an essential importance for their body and sexuality
life and in the path of growth of their identity, because they are essential to live
and affectivity. In the contemporary world, however, we find fast phenomena
evolution in their regard. First of all, the developments of science and biomedical
they strongly influence the perception of the body, inducing the idea that it can be
changed without
limit. The ability to intervene on DNA, the possibility of inserting artificial elements
in the organism ( cyborgs ) and the development of neuroscience are a great resource,
but at the same time they raise anthropological and ethical questions. An uncritical
of the technocratic approach to the body weakens the consciousness of life as a gift
and meaning
of the limit of the creature, which can deviate or be exploited by economic dynamism
politicians (see F RANCESCO , Laudato si ‘ , 106).
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Moreover, in some youth contexts the fascination for risky behaviors spreads like
tool to explore oneself, search for strong emotions and gain recognition. Together
to the persistence of ancient phenomena, such as precocious sexuality, promiscuity,
sexual, the exaggerated cult of the physical aspect, today the pervasive diffusion of
digital pornography and the performance of one’s body online . These phenomena, to
which the new ones
generations are exposed, they constitute an obstacle for a serene maturation. They
indicate unprecedented social dynamics, which influence personal experiences and
making them the territory of a sort of ideological colonization.
The reception of the moral teachings of the Church
38. This is the context in which Christian families and ecclesial communities try to do
discovering sexuality to young people as a great gift inhabited by the Mystery, to live
in them
relationships according to the logic of the Gospel. But they do not always manage to
translate this
desire in an adequate affective and sexual education, which is not limited to
sporadic and occasional. Where this education was really taken as a choice
proactive, there are positive results that help young people to understand the
relationship between them
adhesion of faith in Jesus Christ and the way of living affectivity and interpersonal
These results solicit and encourage greater investment in ecclesial energy in
this field.
The questions of young people
39. The Church has a rich tradition on which to build and from which to propose its
teaching on this subject: for example, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, theology
of the body developed by Saint John Paul II, the Encyclical Deus caritas est of
Benedict XVI,
the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia di Francesco. But the young, even those
they know and live this teaching, they express the desire to receive one from the
clear, human and empathic word. In fact, sexual morality is often a cause of
misunderstanding and estrangement from the Church, as it is perceived as a space of
judgment and condemnation. In the face of social changes and ways of experiencing
affectivity and life
multiplicity of ethical perspectives, young people are sensitive to the value of
authenticity and
of dedication, but they are often disoriented. They express more explicitly
desire for comparison on issues related to the difference between male and female
feminine, to the reciprocity between men and women, to homosexuality.
Forms of vulnerability
The job’s world
40. The world of work remains an area in which young people express their creativity
and creativity
ability to innovate. At the same time they experience forms of exclusion and
marginalization. There
the first and most serious is youth unemployment, which in some countries reaches
exorbitant. In addition to making them poor, the lack of work cuts young people’s
ability to
to dream and to hope and deprives them of the possibility of making a contribution to
the development of the
society. In many countries this situation depends on the fact that some sections of the
juveniles lack adequate professional skills, also due to the deficiencies of the
educational and training system. Often the occupational precariousness that afflicts
young people
responds to economic interests that exploit work.
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Violence and persecution
41. Many young people live in war settings and suffer violence in countless numbers
variety of forms: kidnappings, extortion, organized crime, trafficking in human
beings, slaves
sexual exploitation, war rapes, etc. Other young people, because of their faith, are
to find a place in their societies and suffer various types of persecutions, until death.
There are many young people who live by perpetuation or lack of alternatives
crimes and violence: child soldiers, armed gangs and criminals, drug trafficking,
etc. This violence breaks many young lives. Abuse and addictions, as well as violence
deviances are among the reasons that lead young people to prison, with a particular
incidence in
some ethnic and social groups. All these situations question and question the Church.
Marginalization and social hardship
42. Even more numerous in the world are young people who suffer forms of
and social exclusion, for religious, ethnic or economic reasons. We remember the
difficult one
situation of adolescents and young people who remain pregnant and the plague of
abortion, as well as the
the spread of HIV, the different forms of addiction (drugs, gambling, pornography,
etc.) and the
situation of street children and young peo
that they can offer to the communities. She wants to stand bravely on their side,
accompanying them along paths of reappropriation of their dignity and a role in the
construction of the common good.
The experience of suffering
43. Contrary to a widespread stereotype, the youth world is also profound
marked by the experience of vulnerability, disability, illness and pain. In no
few countries grow, especially among young people, the spread of forms of
psychological distress,
depression, mental illness and eating disorders, related to experiences of profound
unhappiness or
the inability to find a place within society; it must not finally be forgotten
the tragic phenomenon of suicides. Young people who live these different conditions
of hardship and le
their families rely on the support of Christian communities, which however are not
adequately equipped to accommodate them.
The vulnerability resource
44. Many of these situations are the product of the “culture of waste”: young people in
they are among the first victims. However, this culture can also impregnate young
people and communities
Christians and their leaders, thus contributing to human, social and environmental
afflicts our world. For the Church this is a call for conversion, for solidarity
and a renewed educational action, making itself present in a particular way in these
of difficulty. Even the young people who live in these situations have precious
resources from
share with the community and teach us to measure ourselves with the limit, helping us
grow in
humanity. The creativity with which the community animated by the joy of the Gospel
can be inexhaustible
become an alternative to discomfort and difficult situations. In this way society can
to experience that the stones discarded by the builders can become corner heads
(see Sal
118.22; Lk 20.17; At 4.11; 1 Pt 2,4).
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Aspects of today’s youth culture
Originality and specificity
45. The younger generations are bearers of an approach to reality with specific
traits. THE
young people ask to be welcomed and respected in their originality. Among the
specific traits most
The preference given to the image has been highlighted in the culture of young people
compared to other communicative languages, the importance of sensations and
emotions as a way of
approach to reality and the priority of concreteness and operability with respect to
theoretical. Relationships of friendship and belonging to groups of people are of great
peers, also cultivated thanks to social media . Young people are generally carriers of
spontaneous openness towards diversity, which makes them attentive to the themes of
inclusion and dialogue between cultures and religions. Numerous experiences of
many parts of the
world testify that young people know how to be pioneers of meeting and intercultural
dialogue e
interreligious, in the perspective of peaceful coexistence.
Commitment and social participation
46. Although in a different form compared to past generations, social engagement is
specific trait of young people today. Alongside some indifferents, there are many
available to engage in voluntary initiatives, active citizenship and social solidarity,
to accompany and encourage to bring out the talents, skills and creativity of the
young people and encourage their assumption of responsibility. Social engagement
and the
direct contact with the poor remain a fundamental opportunity for discovery or
deepening of faith and discernment of one’s own vocation. Strong and widespread
the sensitivity to ecological issues and sustainability, which the encyclical Laudato
has’ known
catalyze. The availability of political commitment for the. Was also reported
construction of the common good, which the Church has not always been able to
accompany by offering
opportunities for formation and areas for discernment. With respect to the promotion
of justice i
young people ask the Church for a firm and coherent commitment, which uproots
every connivance with
a worldly mentality.
Art, music and sport
47. The Synod recognizes and appreciates the importance that young people give to
artistic in all its forms: there are many young people who use talents in this field
received, promoting beauty, truth and goodness, growing in humanity and in
relationship with
God. For many, artistic expression is also a genuine professional vocation. Not
we can forget that for centuries the “way of beauty” was one of the modalities
privileged to express faith and evangelize.
Quite peculiar is the importance of music, which is a real environment
in which young people are constantly immersed, as well as a culture and language
capable of
to stir up emotions and to shape identity. Musical language also represents one
pastoral resource, which challenges the liturgy and its renewal in particular.
The approval of tastes in a commercial key sometimes risks compromising the link
Page 18
with the traditional forms of musical expression and also liturgical.
Equally significant is the importance that young people take sport practice, of which
Church must not underestimate the potential in an educational and formative way,
a solid presence within it. The world of sport needs to be helped
overcome the ambiguities from which it is traveled, such as the mythization of the
champions, the enslavement a
business logic and the ideology of success at any cost. In this sense, the
value of the accompaniment and support of the disabled in sports practice.
Spirituality and religiosity
Different religious contexts
48. The religious experience of young people is strongly influenced by the social
context and
cultural life in which they live. In some countries Christian faith is a strong
community experience
alive, that young people share with joy. In other regions of ancient Christian tradition
a majority of the Catholic population does not live a real belonging to the Church; not
however, creative minorities and experiences that reveal a rebirth of interest are
religious, as a reaction to a reductionist and suffocating vision. In other places i
Catholics, together with other Christian denominations, are a minority, which they
sometimes know
discrimination and even persecution. Finally, there are contexts in which there is a
growth of the
seven or forms of alternative religiosity; those who follow them are often disappointed
they become adverse to everything religious. If in some regions young people do not
have the
possibility to publicly express their faith or do not see their own recognized
religious freedom, elsewhere we feel the weight of choices of the past – even political
– that they have
ecclesial credibility. It is not possible to talk about the religiosity of young people
keep all these differences in mind.
Religious research
49. In general young people claim to be in search of the meaning of life and
interest in spirituality. But this attention is sometimes configured as a search for
piscological well-being more than an opening to the encounter with the Mystery of the
living God. In
particular in some cultures, many consider religion a private matter and select
from different spiritual traditions the elements in which they find their own
convictions. Yes
thus spreads a certain syncretism, which develops on the relativistic assumption that
religions are the same. Adherence to a community of faith is not seen by everyone as
the way to
privileged access to the meaning of life, and is flanked and sometimes superseded by
ideologies or
from the search for success on a professional and economic level, in the logic of
a material self-fulfillment. However, some practices delivered by the company remain
tradition, such as pilgrimages to shrines, which sometimes involve a lot of young
numerous, and expressions of popular piety, often linked to devotion to Mary and the
that guard the faith experience of a people.
The meeting with Jesus
50. The same variety is found in the relationship of the young with the figure of Jesus.
Many the
they recognize as Savior and Son of God and often feel close to him through Mary,
his mother and commit themselves to a journey of faith. Others do not have a
relationship with him
personal, but consider him as a good man and an ethical reference. Others again
Page 19
they meet through a strong experience of the Spirit. For others it is a figure of the
past devoid of existential relevance or very distant from human experience.
If for many young people God, religion and the Church appear empty words, they are
to the figure of Jesus, when presented in an attractive and effective way. In many
even today’s youth tell us: “We want to see Jesus” ( Jn 12,21), thus manifesting
that healthy restlessness that characterizes the heart of every human being: «The
disquiet of the
spiritual search, the restlessness of the encounter with God, the restlessness of love »
(F RANCESCO , Mass for the beginning of the General Chapter of the Order of St.
Augustine ,
August 28, 2013).
The desire for a living liturgy
51. In various contexts young Catholics ask for prayer proposals and moments
sacramental ones capable of intercepting their daily life, in a fresh, authentic and
joyful. In many parts of the world liturgical experience is the principal resource for
Christian and knows a broad and convinced participation. The young recognize you
privileged moment of experience of God and of the ecclesial community, and a
starting point
for the mission. Elsewhere, there is a certain departure from the sacraments e
from the Sunday Eucharist, perceived more as a moral precept than as a happy
encounter with
the Risen Lord and with the community. In general it is noted that even where it offers
catechesis on the sacraments, the educational accompaniment to live the celebration is
depth, to enter the mystery wealth of its symbols and its rites.
Participation and protagonism
Young people want to be protagonists
52. In the face of the contradictions of society, many young people wish to make the
most of them
their talents, skills and creativity and are willing to take responsibility. Between
social sustainability and environmental sustainability emerge from the issues that are
most important to them
discrimination and racism. The involvement of young people often follows
unpublished approaches,
also exploiting the potential of digital communication in terms of mobilization and
political pressure: diffusion of lifestyles and critical consumption and investment
supportive and attentive to the environment; new forms of commitment and
participation in society e
in politics; new ways of welfare to guarantee the weakest subjects.
The reasons for a distance
53. The Synod is aware that a substantial number of young people, for the most
different, they ask nothing from the Church because they do not consider it
meaningful to them
existence. Some, on the contrary, expressly ask to be left alone, because they feel the
its presence as annoying and even irritating. This request is often not born of a
uncritical and impulsive contempt, but it has its roots also in serious and respectable
reasons: i
sexual and economic scandals; the unpreparedness of ordained ministers who do not
adequately intercept the sensitivity of young people; the lack of care in preparation
of the homily and in the presentation of the Word of God; the passive role assigned to
young people
within the Christian community; the effort of the Church to make sense of its own
doctrinal and ethical positions in the face of contemporary society.
Page 20
Young people in the Church
54. Young Catholics are not merely recipients of pastoral action, but members
he lives of the only ecclesial body, baptized in which the Spirit of the Lord lives and
acts. They
they contribute to enriching what the Church is, and not just what it does. I am his
present and
not just his future. Young people are protagonists in many ecclesial activities, in
which they offer
generously his service, in particular with the animation of catechesis and of the
liturgy, the care of the little ones, volunteering towards the poor. Also movements,
and religious congregations offer young people opportunities for commitment and coresponsibility.
Sometimes the availability of young people meets a certain authoritarianism and
distrust of adults and
shepherds, who do not sufficiently recognize their creativity and struggle to share
Women in the Church
55. There is also a demand among young people for greater recognition and
enhancement of women in society and in the Church. Many women play a role
irreplaceable in the Christian communities, but in many places it is hard to give them
space in the
decision-making processes, even when they do not require specific ministerial
The absence of the female voice and gaze impoverishes the debate and the path of
Church, subtracting from the discernment a precious contribution. The Synod
recommends making
all more aware of the urgency of an unavoidable change, even starting from one
anthropological and theological reflection on the reciprocity between men and
The mission of young people towards their peers
56. In various contexts there are groups of young people, often the expression of
associations and
ecclesial movements, which are very active in the evangelization of their peers thanks
a clear testimony of life, an accessible language and the ability to establish
authentic bonds of friendship. This apostolate allows us to bring the Gospel to people
they would hardly be reached by ordinary youth ministry, and will help to make
to mature the same faith as those who commit themselves to it. It must therefore be
appreciated, supported,
accompanied wisely and integrated into the life of the communities.
Desire for a more authentic and fraternal ecclesial community
57. Young people ask that the Church shine for authenticity, exemplariness,
co-responsibility and cultural solidity. Sometimes this request sounds like a criticism,
often takes the positive form of a personal commitment to a fraternal community,
welcoming, joyful and prophetically committed to fighting social injustice. Between
The expectations of young people stand out in particular the desire that in the Church
a style of
less paternalistic and more frank dialogue.
Page 21
58. “And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them in all the
Scriptures what was
he was referring to him. When they were close to the village where they were headed,
he did as he should
go farther. But they insisted: “Stay with us, because it is evening and the day is now
at sunset”. He entered to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the
he recited the blessing, broke it and gave it to them. Then they opened their eyes and
recognized. But he vanished from their sight ” ( Lk 24 : 27-31).
After having listened to them, the Lord addresses to the two travelers an incisive and
decisive “word”,
authoritative and transforming. Thus, with sweetness and strength, the Lord enters
their dwelling,
he stays with them and shares the bread of life: it is the Eucharistic sign that allows
the two
disciples to finally open their eyes.
A new Pentecost
The action of the Holy Spirit
59. The Holy Spirit kindles the heart, opens the eyes and arouses the faith of the two
He works from the beginning of the creation of the world because the project of the
Father of
to recapitulate everything in Christ reaches its fullness. It acts in every time and in
place, in the variety of contexts and cultures, arousing also in the midst of difficulties
to the sufferings the commitment to justice, the search for truth, the courage of hope.
This is why St. Paul affirms that “all together, creation groans and suffers the pains of
until today “( Rom 8:22 ). The desire for life in love and the healthy restlessness that
lives in the
the hearts of the young are part of the great yearning of all creation towards the
fullness of joy.
In each of them, even in those who do not know Christ, the Creator Spirit acts for
lead them to beauty, goodness and truth.
The Spirit rejuvenates the Church
60. Youth is an original and stimulating period of life, which Jesus himself has
lived, sanctifying it. The Message to the Youth of the Second Vatican Council
(December 7, 1965)
he presented the Church as the “true youth of the world”, which possesses “the ability
rejoice for what begins, to give oneself without return, to renew oneself and to start
again for new ones
conquests. ” With their freshness and their faith young people contribute to show this
the face of the Church, which reflects “the great Living, the eternally young Christ”.
It is not therefore a matter of creating a new Church for the young, but rather of
rediscovering with
them the youth of the Church, opening us to the grace of a new Pentecost.
The Spirit in the life of the believer
61. The vocation of the Christian is to follow Christ passing through the waters of
receiving the seal of Confirmation and becoming part of his Body in the Eucharist:
«The Holy Spirit comes, the fire after the water and you become bread, that is the
body of Christ»
(Augustine, Discourse 227). In the path of Christian initiation it is above all the
Page 22
Confirmation that allows believers to relive the Pentecostal experience of a new one
outpouring of the Spirit for growth and mission. It is important to rediscover the
wealth of
this sacrament, to grasp the link with the personal vocation of every baptized person
and with the
theology of charisms, to take better care of pastoral care, so that it does not become a
formal and not very significant. Every vocational journey has the Holy Spirit as
protagonist: He is the “inner master” to be led by.
An authentic experience of God
62. The first condition for vocational discernment in the Spirit is authentic
experience of faith in the dead and risen Christ, remembering that it “is not light that
dissipates all
our darkness, but a lamp that guides our steps in the night, and this is enough for the
journey “(F RANCESCO , Lumen fidei , n. 57). In Christian communities sometimes we
propose, beyond the intentions, an ethical and therapeutic theism, which responds to
the need for
security and comfort of the human being, rather than a living encounter with God in
the light of
Gospel and in the power of the Spirit. If it is true that life is awakened only through
life, it becomes clear that young people need to meet deeply rooted Christian
really in friendship with Christ, who leads us to the Father in the communion of the
Holy Spirit.
Young Jesus among the young
The youth of Jesus
63. “Young man among the young to become an example for the young and
consecrate them to the Lord”
(I RENEO , Against heresies , II, 22.4), Christ sanctified youth for the very fact of
have lived it. The biblical narrative presents only one episode of the youth of Jesus
Lk 2 : 41-52), which was lived without clamor, in the simplicity and diligence of
so much so as to be recognized as “the carpenter” ( Mk 6: 3) and “the son of the
carpenter” ( Matt
Contemplating his life we can best grasp the blessing of youth: Jesus
he had an unconditional trust in the Father, he looked after the friendship with his
disciples, and
even in times of crisis it has remained faithful to it. He manifested deep compassion
towards the weakest, especially the poor, the sick, sinners and the excluded. Has
had the courage to face the religious and political authorities of his time; did
the experience of feeling misunderstood and discarded; he felt the fear of suffering
known the fragility of the Passion; he turned his gaze to the future by entrusting
to the sure hands of the Father and the power of the Spirit. In Jesus all young people
can find each other,
with their fears and their hopes, their uncertainties and their dreams and to him they
trust. It will be their source of inspiration to contemplate the meetings of Jesus with
the young.
Page 23
With the gaze of the Lord
64. Listening to Christ and communion with him also allow pastors and
educators to mature a wise reading of this season of life. The Synod has tried to
to look at young people with the attitude of Jesus, to discern signs in their lives
of the action of the Spirit. In fact, we believe that even today God speaks to the
Church and to the world
through the young, their creativity and their commitment, as well as their sufferings
and theirs
requests for help. With them we can more prophetically read our age and recognize
the signs of the times; this is why young people are one of the “theological places” in
which the Lord makes us
know some of his expectations and challenges to build tomorrow.
Characters of the young age
65. Youth, the stage of personality development, is marked by dreams that go
taking body, from relationships that acquire more consistency and balance, from
attempts and experiments, from choices that gradually build a life project. In
this season of life young people are called to project forward without cutting off
roots, to build autonomy, but not in solitude. The social, economic, cultural context,
it does not always offer favorable conditions. Many young saints have made them
lineaments of youthful age in all their beauty and were in their era true prophets
of change; their example shows what young people are capable of when they open up
to the encounter with Christ.
Even young people with disabilities or those suffering from diseases can make a
valuable contribution. The
Synod invites the communities to make room for initiatives that recognize them and
allow them to
be protagonists, for example with the use of sign language for the deaf, itineraries
catechistic opportunely finalized, associative experiences or work placement .
The healthy restlessness of young people
66. Young people are bearers of an anxiety that must first be accepted, respected and
accompanied, betting with conviction on their freedom and responsibility. The church
knows from experience that their contribution is fundamental for its renewal. Young
people, for
certain aspects may be ahead of the shepherds. On Easter morning the young Disciple
Amato arrived first at the sepulcher, preceding Peter weighed down by age in his race
and from betrayal (see Jn 20 : 1-10); in the same way the dynamism in the Christian
youth is a renewing energy for the Church, because it helps it to shake off
heaviness and slowness and to open up to the Risen One. At the same time, the
attitude of the
Disciple Amato indicates that it is important to remain connected with the experience
of the elderly,
recognize the role of pastors and not go forward on their own. This will have the
symphony of voices
which is the fruit of the Spirit.
The young wounded
67. The life of young people, like that of everyone, is also marked by wounds. They
are the wounds of the
defeats of one’s own history, frustrated desires, discriminations and injustices,
of not having felt loved or recognized. They are wounds of the body and the
psyche. Christ, who has
accepted to cross the passion and death, through His cross becomes the neighbor of all
young people who suffer. Then there are the moral wounds, the weight of their
mistakes, the feelings of guilt for
to be wrong. Reconciling oneself with one’s wounds is more than ever a necessary
condition for today
Page 24
a good life. The Church is called to support all young people in their trials and
promote appropriate pastoral actions.
Become an adult
The age of choices
68. Youth is a season of life that must end, to make room for age
adulthood. This passage does not take place in a purely personal way, but implies a
maturation, which is not always facilitated by the environment in which young people
live. In many
Regions have in fact spread a culture of the provisional that favors an extension
indefinite adolescence and the return of decisions; the fear of the definitive generates
a sort of decision paralysis. But youth can not remain a suspended time: it is
the age of choices and this is precisely its appeal and its greatest task. THE
young people make decisions in the professional, social, political, and other more
radical that
they will give their existence a decisive configuration. It’s about these last ones
that one speaks more precisely of “choices of life”: it is in fact life itself, in its
unrepeatable, which receives definitive orientation.
Existence under the sign of the mission
69. Pope Francis invites young people to think about their life on the horizon of the
“Many times in life we waste time asking ourselves:” Who am I? “. You can
ask yourself who you are and have a whole life looking for who you are. But ask
yourself: ” For who I am
me? “» ( Speech in the prayer vigil in preparation for World Day of the
youth , Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, 8 April 2017). This statement illuminates in
a profound way of life choices, because it urges us to take them on the liberating
horizon of
gift of self. This is the only way to achieve authentic and lasting happiness!
Indeed, “the mission to the heart of the people is not a part of my life, or a
ornament that I can take away, it is not an appendix, or a moment among the many of
It is something that I can not uproot from my being if I do not want to destroy
myself. I am a
mission on this earth, and for this I find myself in this world “(F RANCESCO , Evangelii
gaudium , n. 273).
A pedagogy capable of questioning
70. The mission is a sure compass for the journey of life, but it is not a “navigator”,
showing all the way in advance. Freedom always brings with it a dimension of
risk that must be valued with courage and accompanied with gradualness and
wisdom. Many
pages of the Gospel show us Jesus who invites us to dare, to take off, to pass by
logic of the observance of the precepts to that of the generous and unconditional gift,
to hide the need to take up one’s own cross (see Mt 16,24). He is radical:
«He gives everything and asks for everything : he gives total love and asks for an
undivided heart» (F RANCESCO , Homily
of October 14, 2018 ). Avoiding deluding young people with minimal proposals or
suffocating them with a
set of rules that give Christianity a reductive and moralistic image, we are
called to invest on their audacity and educate them to assume their responsibilities,
that even error, failure and crisis are experiences that can strengthen them
Page 25
The true sense of authority
71. To fulfill a true path of maturation, young people need adults
authoritative. In its etymological meaning, auctoritas indicates the ability to grow; not
expresses the idea of a directive power, but of a real generative force. When Jesus
he met the young, in whatever state and condition they were, even if they were dead,
one way or another he told them: “Get up! Grow up! “And his word realized what
he said (see Mk 5:41, Lk 7:14). In the episode of the healing of the demoniac epileptic
Mk 9: 14-29), which evokes many forms of alienation of today’s youth, it is clear that
close of the hand of Jesus is not to remove freedom but to activate it, to free it. Jesus
fully exercises his authority: he wants nothing more than the growth of the young,
without any
possessiveness, manipulation and seduction.
The link with the family
72. The family is the first community of faith in which, even between limits and
incompleteness, the
young person experiences the love of God and begins to discern his own
vocation. The Synods
previous, and the subsequent Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia , do not cease
to underline that the family, as a domestic Church, has the task of living the joy of the
Gospel in daily life and make all the members participate according to their condition,
remaining open to the vocational and missionary dimension.
However, families do not always educate their children to look to the future in a
vocational logic.
Sometimes the search for social prestige or personal success, the ambition of parents
or the
tendency to determine the choices of children invade the space of discernment and
they condition decisions. The Synod recognizes the need to help families to hire
in a clearer way a conception of life as a vocation. The Gospel story of Jesus
adolescent (see Lk 2 : 41-52), submissive to parents but capable of detaching from
them for
taking care of the things of the Father, he can offer precious lights to set up the Gospel
in an evangelical way
family relationships.
Called for freedom
The Gospel of freedom
73. Freedom is an essential condition for every authentic choice of life. It risks
however of
be misunderstood, also because it is not always adequately presented. The Church
itself ends
to appear to many young people as an institution that imposes rules, prohibitions and
obligations. Christ
instead “he freed us for freedom” ( Gal 5: 1), making us pass from the regime of the
Law a
that of the Spirit. In the light of the Gospel, it is appropriate today to recognize with
greater clarity
that freedom is constitutively relational and show that the passions and emotions are
relevant to the extent to which they orientate towards authentic encounter with each
other. One such
perspective clearly states that true freedom is understandable and only possible in
relation to the truth (see Jn 8 : 31-32) and above all to charity (see 1 Cor 13 : 1-
13, Gal 5:13):
freedom is being oneself in the heart of another.
Responsorial freedom
74. Through the fraternity and solidarity lived, especially with the last, the young
they discover that authentic freedom arises from feeling welcomed and grows in
making room for another.
Page 26
They have a similar experience when they commit themselves to cultivating sobriety
or respect
environment. The experience of mutual recognition and shared commitment there
it leads us to discover that their heart is inhabited by a silent appeal to the love that
from God. It becomes easier to recognize the transcendent dimension that freedom
originally in itself and that in contact with the most intense experiences of life – birth
and the
death, friendship and love, guilt and forgiveness – is more clearly awakened. I’m
it is precisely these experiences that help to recognize that the nature of freedom is
Freedom and faith
75. More than 50 years ago, St. Paul introduced the expression “dialogue of salvation”
he interpreted the mission of the Son in the world as the expression of a “formidable
of love ” . He added, however, that we are “free to correspond with or reject
it ” (see Ecclesiam
suam , n. 77). In this perspective, the act of personal faith appears as free and
it will be the starting point for a gradual appropriation of the contents of the
faith. Faith
therefore it does not constitute an element that is added almost from the outside to
freedom, but fulfills
the yearning of conscience to truth, to goodness and to beauty, finding them fully in
The testimony of many young martyrs of the past and present, resounded strongly to
Synod, it is the most convincing proof that faith sets free against the powers of the
world, its injustices and even in the face of death.
The wounded and redeemed freedom
76. Human freedom is marked by the wounds of personal sin and concupiscence.
But when, thanks to forgiveness and mercy, the person becomes aware of the
that imprison it, grows in maturity and can engage with more lucidity in the choices
definitive of life. From an educational perspective, it is important to help young
people not
to be discouraged by errors and failures, though humiliating, because they are an
integral part
of the journey towards a more mature freedom, conscious of its own greatness and
But evil does not have the last word: “For God so loved the world that he gave his Son
only begotten “( Jn 3:16). He loved us to the end and thus redeemed our freedom.
Dying for us on the cross he poured out the Spirit, and “where there is the Spirit of the
Lord is there
freedom “(2 Cor 3:17): a new, paschal freedom which is fulfilled in the daily gift of
The search for a vocation
Vocation, travel and discovery
77. The account of Samuel’s call (see 1 Sam 3,1-21) allows us to grasp the features
fundamental principles of discernment: listening to and recognizing the divine
a personal experience, a progressive understanding, and patient support
respectful of the mystery in progress, a community destination. The vocation does not
impose itself to
Page 27
Samuel as a destiny to be suffered; it is a proposal of love, a missionary sending in
history of everyday mutual trust.
As for the young Samuel, so for every man and every woman the vocation, despite
strong and privileged moments, involves a long journey. The Word of the Lord
requires time
to be understood and interpreted; the mission to which it calls is gradually
revealed. Young people
they are fascinated by the adventure of progressive self-discovery. They willingly
learn from
activities that they perform, from meetings and relationships, putting themselves to
the test in everyday life.
But they need to be helped to gather the different experiences in unity and to read
in a faith perspective, overcoming the risk of dispersion and recognizing the signs
with which
God speaks. In the discovery of the vocation, not everything is immediately clear,
because faith “sees”
in the measure in which he walks, in which he enters the space opened by the Word of
God ”
(F RANCESCO , Lumen fidei , 9).
Vocation, grace and freedom
78. Over the centuries, the theological understanding of the mystery of vocation has
known different emphases, according to the social and ecclesial context within which
theme has been worked out. In any case, the analogical character of the term must be
“Vocation” and the many dimensions that characterize the reality that it
designates. This leads,
from time to time, to highlight individual aspects, with perspectives that do not always
able to safeguard with equal balance the complexity of the whole. To seize in
profoundly the mystery of the vocation which finds its ultimate origin in God, we are
called to purify our imagery and our religious language, rediscovering the
wealth and balance of the biblical narration. The interweaving of divine choice and
human, in particular, must be thought out of all determinism and of every
extrinsicism. There
vocation is neither a script already written that human beings should simply
reciting or a theatrical improvisation without a trace. Because God calls us to be
friends and
not served (see Jn 15:13), our choices contribute in a real way to the historical
unfolding of the
his project of love. The economy of salvation, on the other hand, is a Mystery that
surpasses us
infinitely; for this reason only listening to the Lord can reveal to us what part we are
to have in it. Cultured in this light, the vocation really appears as a gift of grace
and of covenant, as the most beautiful and precious secret of our freedom.
Creation and vocation
79. Affirming that all things were created through Christ and in view of Him
(see Col 1:16), the Scriptures orientate to read the mystery of the vocation as a reality
it marks the very creation of God. God created with his Word that “calls” to being and
to life and then “distinguishes” in the chaos of indistinct, giving beauty to the cosmos
of order and the harmony of diversity. If already St. Paul VI had said that “every life
vocation “(see Populorum progressio , 15), Benedict XVI insisted that being
human is created as a dialogical being: the creative Word “calls each one in terms
personal, thus revealing that life itself is a vocation in relation to God “(see Verbum
Domini , 77).
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For a vocational culture
80. Speaking of human existence in vocational terms allows us to highlight some
elements that are very important for the growth of a young person: it means to exclude
is determined by destiny or by chance, as well as being a private asset to be managed
own. If in the first case there is no vocation because there is no recognition of one
destination worthy of existence, in the second a human being thought “without bonds”
becomes “without vocation”. This is why it is important to create the conditions
because in all
Christian communities, starting from the baptismal conscience of their members,
develop a true one
and his own vocational culture and a constant commitment to prayer for vocations.
The vocation to follow Jesus
The charm of Jesus
81. Many young people are fascinated by the figure of Jesus. His life looks good to
beautiful, because poor and simple, made of sincere and deep friendships, spent for
the brothers with
generosity, never closed to anyone, but always available to the gift. The life of Jesus
also today deeply attractive and inspiring; it is a provocation for all young people
that challenges. The Church knows that this is due to the fact that Jesus has a
profound connection with
every human being because “Christ, who is the new Adam, just revealing the mystery
of the
Father and his love also fully reveals man to himself and manifests his
highest vocation “(see Gaudium et Spes , n.22 ).
Faith, vocation and discipleship
82. In fact Jesus not only fascinated with his life, but also called
explicitly to the faith. He met men and women who recognized him
gestures and in his words the right way to talk about God and to relate to him, by
that faith that leads to salvation: “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace!
“( Lk 8:48).
Others who met him were instead called to become his disciples and witnesses.
He did not hide from those who want to be his disciple the need to take up his own
every day and to follow him on a paschal path of death and resurrection. Faith
witness continues to live in the Church, sign and instrument of salvation for all
The belonging to the community of Jesus has always known different forms of
sequela. There
most of the disciples lived their faith in the ordinary conditions of daily life;
others, however, including some female figures, shared itinerant existence and
prophetic of the Master (see Lk 8,1-3); from the beginning the apostles played a role
particular in the community and have been associated with him by his ministry of
guidance and of
The Virgin Mary
83. Among all the biblical figures that illustrate the mystery of the vocation must be
contemplated in
singular way that of Mary. Young woman who with her “yes” made it possible
the Incarnation creating the conditions so that every other ecclesial vocation can be
generated, she remains the first disciple of Jesus and the model of every
discipleship. In his
pilgrimage of faith, Mary followed her Son to the foot of the cross, and, after the
Resurrection, accompanied the nascent Church at Pentecost. As a mother and a
merciful continues to accompany the Church and to implore the Spirit that vivifies
every one
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vocation. It is therefore evident that the “Marian principle” has an eminent role and
illuminates the whole
the life of the Church in its various manifestations. Next to the Virgin, also the figure
Giuseppe’s husband is an exemplary model of vocational response.
Vocation and vocations
Vocation and mission of the Church
84. It is not possible to comprehend fully the meaning of the baptismal vocation if not
it is considered that it is for everyone, nobody excluded, a call to holiness. This appeal
necessarily implies an invitation to participate in the mission of the Church, which has
fundamental purpose is communion with God and among all people. Ecclesial
in fact they are manifold and articulated expressions through which the Church
realizes her call
to be a real sign of the Gospel welcomed in a fraternal community. The different
forms of
sequela di Cristo express, each in its own way, the mission of witnessing the event of
Jesus, in whom every man and every woman find salvation.
The variety of charisms
85. Saint Paul returns several times in his letters on this theme, recalling the image
of the Church as a body made up of various members and emphasizing that each
it is necessary and at the same time relative to the whole, since only the unity of all
makes the body
living and harmonious. The origin of this communion is found by the Apostle in the
mystery of the Most Holy Trinity: “There are different charisms, but only one is the
Spirit; There are
different ministries, but only one is the Lord; there are different activities, but only
one is God
he works all in all “(1 Cor 12 : 4-6). The Second Vatican Council and the subsequent
Magisterium offer
precious indications to elaborate a correct theology of charisms and ministries in the
Church, in such a way as to welcome with grateful appreciation and value the gifts of
that the Spirit continually rises in the Church to rejuvenate it.
Profession and vocation
86. For many young people, professional orientation is lived in a vocational horizon.
It is not uncommon to reject attractive job offers that are not in line with Christian
values, and the
choice of training paths is made wondering how to make personal talents fruitful
at the service of the Kingdom of God. Work is for many occasions to recognize and
value the
gifts received: in this way men and women participate actively in the Trinitarian
of creation, redemption and sanctification.
The family
87. The two recent Synodal Assemblies on the Family, followed by the Exhortation
Apostolic Amoris Laetitia , have offered a rich contribution to the vocation of the
family in the Church and the irreplaceable contribution that families are called to give
testimony of the Gospel through mutual love, generation and education of the
sons. While referring to the wealth that emerged in recent documents, the importance
is recalled
to take back the message to rediscover and make young people understand the beauty
wedding vocation.
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Consecrated life
88. The gift of the consecrated life, in its contemplative and active form, that it is
Spirit awakening in the Church has a particular prophetic value as it is witness
joyful of the gratuitousness of love. When religious communities and new foundations
authentically the fraternity they become schools of communion, centers of prayer and
contemplation, places of witness to intergenerational and intercultural dialogue and
for evangelization and charity. The mission of many consecrated men and women
who are
take care of the last in the outskirts of the world concretely manifest the dedication of
an outgoing Church. If in some regions it experiences numerical reduction and fatigue
of aging, consecrated life continues to be fruitful and creative even through
co-responsibility with many lay people who share the spirit and the mission of the
different charisms.
The Church and the world can not do without this vocational gift, which constitutes
a great resource for our time.
The ordained ministry
89. The Church has always had particular care for vocations to the ordained ministry,
in the knowledge that the latter is a constitutive element of his identity and is
necessary for Christian life. For this reason it has always cultivated specific attention
for the formation and accompaniment of candidates for the presbyterate. The concern
many churches due to their numeric decline necessitates a renewed reflection on the
vocation to the ordained ministry and to a vocational pastoral care that can make the
charm of the person of Jesus and his call to become shepherds of his flock. Also there
vocation to the permanent diaconate requires more attention, because it constitutes
a resource that has not yet developed all its potential.
The condition of the “single”
90. The Synod reflected on the condition of people living as “single”,
recognizing that with this term we can indicate very different life situations between
their. This situation may depend on many reasons, voluntary or involuntary, and on
cultural, religious, social. It can therefore express a very wide range of paths.
The Church recognizes that this condition, assumed in a logic of faith and gift, can
one of the many ways through which the grace of baptism is carried out and one walks
towards that
holiness to which we are all called.
The Church that accompanies
Faced with choices
91. In the contemporary world, characterized by an increasingly evident pluralism and
an ever wider availability of options, the theme of choices is particularly particular
strength and at different levels, especially in the face of ever less linear life itineraries,
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characterized by great precariousness. In fact, young people often move between
extreme approaches
as naive: from considering itself to the mercy of an already written and inexorable
destiny, to feeling itself
overwhelmed by an abstract ideal of excellence, in a context of unregulated
Accompanying to make valid, stable and well-founded choices is therefore a service
of which yes
he feels the need widely. Be present, support and accompany the itinerary towards
authentic choices are for the Church a way of exercising one’s maternal function by
to the freedom of the children of God. This service is nothing other than the
continuation of the way in which the
God of Jesus Christ acts towards his people: through a constant presence e
cordial, a dedicated and loving closeness and a boundless tenderness.
Break bread together
92. As the story of the disciples of Emmaus teaches, to accompany requires the
willingness to work together a stretch of road, establishing a meaningful relationship.
The origin of the term “accompany” refers to the broken and shared bread ( cum
bread ), with
all the human and sacramental symbolic richness of this reference. It is therefore the
as a whole the first subject of accompaniment, precisely because in its bosom it is
develops that web of relationships that can support the person in his path and provide
points of reference and orientation. Accompaniment in human and Christian growth
towards adult life is one of the ways in which the community shows itself capable of
renewing itself and of
renew the world.
The Eucharist is a living memory of the Easter event, a privileged place for
evangelization e
of the transmission of faith in view of the mission. In the assembly gathered in the
Eucharistic celebration, the experience of being personally touched, educated and
healed by
Jesus accompanies each person on his journey of personal growth.
Environments and roles
93. In addition to family members, they are called to play a role of
accompaniment of all significant persons in the different spheres of life of young
people, such as
teachers, animators, coaches and other reference figures, including
professionals. Priests,
religious and religious, despite not having the monopoly of accompaniment, have a
specific that stems from their vocation and which must rediscover, as requested by the
young people present at the Synodal Assembly, in the name of many others. The
experience of some churches
enhances the role of catechists as companions of Christian communities and their
Accompany the insertion in the society
94. Accompaniment can not be limited to the path of spiritual growth and practices
of the Christian life. Equally fruitful is the accompaniment along the path of
progressive acceptance of responsibility within the company, for example in the field
professional or socio-political commitment. In this sense, the Synodal Assembly
recommends the
enhancement of the social doctrine of the Church. Within companies and communities
more intercultural and multireligious ecclesial groups, accompaniment is necessary
specific to the relationship with diversity, which enhances it as a mutual enrichment e
possibility of fraternal communion, against the double temptation of identity retreat e
of relativism.
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Community, group and personal accompaniment
A fruitful tension
95. There is a constitutive complementarity between personal accompaniment and that
community that every spirituality or ecclesial sensitivity is called to articulate in a
original. It will be above all in some particularly delicate moments, for example the
phase of the
discernment with respect to fundamental life choices or the crossing of critical
that direct personal accompaniment will be particularly fruitful. Remains
however important also in daily life as a way to deepen the relationship with
the Sir.
The urgency of personally accompanying seminarians and young priests is
religious in formation, as well as couples on the journey of preparation for marriage
in the early days after the celebration of the sacrament, inspired by the catechumenate.
Community and group accompaniment
96. Jesus accompanied the group of his disciples sharing life with them
of every day. The community experience highlights the quality and limitations of each
and every person
it makes the humble conscience grow that without sharing the gifts received for the
good of all
it is not possible to follow the Lord.
This continuous experience in the practice of the Church, which sees young people
inserted into groups,
movements and associations of various kinds, in which they experience the warm and
welcoming environment
and the intensity of relationships they desire. The inclusion in reality of this type is
importance once the path of Christian initiation is completed, because it offers young
the ground to continue the maturation of one’s Christian vocation. In these
the presence of shepherds should be encouraged, so as to guarantee adequate
In educator and animator groups they represent a point of reference in terms of
accompaniment, while the friendships that develop within them
constitute the ground for peer support.
Personal spiritual accompaniment
97. Spiritual accompaniment is a process that aims to help the person to integrate
progressively the different dimensions of life to follow the Lord Jesus. In this
three instances are articulated: listening to life, meeting Jesus and dialogue
mysterious between the freedom of God and that of the person. Who accompanies
welcomes with patience,
it raises the most real questions and recognizes the signs of the Spirit in the response
of the young.
In personal spiritual accompaniment one learns to recognize, interpret and choose
in the perspective of faith, listening to what the Spirit suggests within the life of
every day (see F RANCESCO , Evangelii gaudium , No. 169-173). The charism
spiritual accompaniment, even in tradition, is not necessarily linked to
ordained ministry. Never as today there is a need for spiritual guides, fathers and
mothers with one
profound experience of faith and humanity and not only intellectually prepared. The
Synod yes
wishes that there will be a rediscovery in this area also of the great generative
resource of the
consecrated life, especially that of women, and of lay people, adults and young
people, well-trained.
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Accompaniment and sacrament of Reconciliation
98. The sacrament of Reconciliation plays an indispensable role to proceed in
life of faith, which is marked not only by the limit and by fragility, but also by
sin. The
ministry of reconciliation and spiritual accompaniment must be
suitably distinct because they have different purposes and forms. It is pastorally
a healthy and wise gradualness of penitential paths, with the involvement of a
plurality of
educational figures, which help young people to read their moral life, to mature a
correct one
a sense of sin and above all to open oneself to the liberating joy of mercy.
An integral accompaniment
99. The Synod then recognizes the need to promote integral accompaniment, in
whose spiritual aspects are well integrated with human and social ones. As Pope
Francis, “spiritual discernment does not exclude the contributions of human wisdom,
existential, psychological, sociological or moral. But it transcends them “( Gaudete et
exsultate , n.
170). These are elements to be seized in a dynamic and respectful manner
spirituality and culture, without exclusions and without confusion.
Psychological or psychotherapeutic accompaniment, if open to transcendence, can
reveal itself
fundamental for a journey of integration of the personality, reopening to the possible
vocational growth some aspects of personality closed or blocked. The young live all
wealth and the fragility of being an “open construction site”. Psychological processing
not only to help you retrace your story with patience, but also to reopen questions for
reach a more stable emotional balance.
The accompaniment in formation to the ordained ministry and to the consecrated life
100. In welcoming young people in training houses or seminars it is important to
sufficient rooting in a community, a stability in relations of friendship with peers,
in the commitment to study or work, in contact with poverty and suffering.
In spiritual accompaniment it is crucial to start prayer and inner work,
learning discernment first of all in one’s life, even through forms of
renunciation and asceticism. Celibacy for the Kingdom (see Mt 19,12) should be
understood as a
a gift to be recognized and verified in freedom, joy, gratuity and humility, before
to orders or first profession. The contribution of psychology is to be understood as aid
for the affective maturation and the integration of the personality, to be included in the
training according to professional deontology and respect for the effective freedom of
those in
training. The figure of the rector or of whoever is responsible for formation becomes
more and more
important to unify the formative journey, to arrive at a realistic discernment
consulting all the people involved in the training and to decide on the eventuality
to interrupt the formative journey by helping to proceed in another vocational way.
Once the initial phase of the training has been completed, it is necessary to ensure the
formation perm
the accompaniment of priests, consecrated and consecrated, especially the
youngest. These yes
they often find themselves confronted with disproportionate challenges and
responsibilities. The task of
accompany them not only to special delegates, but must be exercised personally
from bishops and superiors.
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Quality escorts
Called to accompany
101. In many ways young people have asked us to qualify the figure of the
The accompaniment service is a genuine mission, which solicits availability
apostolic of those who do it. Like the deacon Philip, the chaperone is called a
obeying the call of the Spirit by going out and leaving the enclosure of the walls of
Jerusalem, figure of the Christian community, to go to a deserted and inhospitable
perhaps dangerous, where to work hard to chase a wagon. Reached him, he must find
the way to
enter into a relationship with the foreign traveler, to arouse a question that perhaps
spontaneously it would never have been formulated (see Acts 8 : 26-40). In short,
it requires to make itself available, of the Spirit of the Lord and of who is
accompanied, with
all their qualities and abilities, and then have the courage to step aside with humility.
The profile of the companion
102. A good companion is a balanced person, listening, faith and prayer,
which measured itself with its own weaknesses and fragility. This is why it knows
how to be welcoming towards i
young people accompanying, without moralism and without false indulgences. When
it is necessary to know
to offer also the word of fraternal correction.
The awareness that accompanying is a mission that requires deep roots
in spiritual life it will help him to keep himself free with the young people he
he will respect the outcome of their journey, supporting them with prayer and
rejoicing in the fruits that come to him
Spirit produces in those who open their hearts, without trying to impose their will
and their own preferences. Equally he will be able to put himself at the service, rather
than occupy the
center of the scene and assume possessive and manipulative attitudes that are
and not freedom in people. This profound respect will also be the best guarantee
against the
risks of plagiarism and abuse of all kinds.
The importance of training
103. In order to be able to carry out their service, the guide will need to cultivate the
his own spiritual life, nourishing the relationship that binds him to the One who
assigned him the
mission. At the same time he will need to feel the support of the ecclesial community
which it belongs to. It will be important that you receive specific training for this
ministry and which can also benefit from support and supervision.
It should finally be remembered that characterizing features of our being Church that
collect one
great appreciation of young people is the availability and ability to work in a team : in
in this way it is more significant, effective and incisive in the training of young
people. this
competence in community work requires the maturation of specific relational virtues:
discipline of listening and the ability to make space to another, readiness in
forgiveness and the
willingness to get involved in a true spirituality of communion.
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The Church, environment to discern
A constellation of meanings in the variety of spiritual traditions
104. Vocational accompaniment is a fundamental dimension of a process of
discernment by the person who is called to choose. The term “discernment” is
used in a variety of meanings, although connected to each other. In a more general
discernment indicates the process in which important decisions are made; in a second
more proper to the Christian tradition and on which we will dwell particularly,
to the spiritual dynamics through which a person, a group or a community try to
to recognize and to accept God’s will in the concrete of their situation: «Check
everything and keep what is good “(1 Thess 5:21). As attention to recognizing the
of the Spirit and to accept his call, discernment is an essential dimension
of the style of life of Jesus, a basic attitude far more than a punctual act.
Throughout the history of the Church the different spiritualities have faced the theme
of discernment,
with different emphases also in relation to the different charismatic sensibilities and
historical. During the Synod we have recognized some common elements that do not
the diversity of languages: the presence of God in the life and history of each
person; there
possibility of recognizing the action; the role of prayer, of sacramental life and
asceticism; the continuous confrontation with the demands of the Word of
God; freedom compared to
certainties acquired; constant verification with daily life; the importance of a
adequate accompaniment.
The constitutive return to the Word and to the Church
105. As “an interior attitude that is rooted in an act of faith ” (F RANCESCO ,
Speech to the 1st General Congregation of the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the
Synod of Bishops , 3 October 2018), the discernment is constitutively referring to the
Church, the
whose mission is to make every man and woman meet that Lord who is already at
in their life and in their hearts.
The context of the ecclesial community fosters a climate of trust and freedom in
of one’s own vocation in an environment of meditation and prayer; offers
concrete for the re-reading of one’s own history and the discovery of one’s own gifts
and one’s own
vulnerability in the light of the Word of God; allows you to compare yourself with
witnesses that
they embody different life options. Even the meeting with the poor solicits the
of what is essential in existence, while the sacraments – in particular the Eucharist and
Reconciliation – nurture and support those who set out to discover the will of
The community horizon is always involved in every discernment, never reducible to
the sole
individual dimension. At the same time every personal discernment challenges the
urging her to listen to what the Spirit suggests to her through experience
spiritual of its members: like every believer, the Church is always in discernment.
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Consciousness in discernment
God speaks to the heart
106. Discernment calls attention to what happens in the heart of every man and of
every woman. In biblical texts the term “heart” is used to indicate the central point
of the interiority of the person, where listening to the Word that God constantly
addresses to them
becomes a criterion for evaluating life and choices (see Sal 139). The Bible considers
personal dimension, but at the same time emphasizes the community one. Even the
new “promised by the prophets is not an individual gift, but concerns all of Israel, in
tradition and salvific history the believer is inserted (see Ez 36 : 26-27). The Gospels
go on
on the same line: Jesus insists on the importance of interiority and places the center of
the heart in the heart
moral life (see Mt 15 : 18-20).
The Christian idea of conscience
107. The apostle Paul enriches what the biblical tradition has elaborated regarding the
heart putting it in relation with the term “conscience”, which assumes from the culture
of his
time. It is in the conscience that the fruit of encounter and communion with Christ is
a saving transformation and the reception of a new freedom. Christian tradition
insists on the conscience as a privileged place for special intimacy with God and for
with Him, in which His voice makes itself present: “Conscience is the most secret
nucleus and the shrine
of man, where he is alone with God, whose voice resounds in intimacy “( Gaudium et
spes , n.
16). This consciousness does not coincide with immediate and superficial feeling, nor
with one
“Self-awareness”: it attests to a transcendent presence, which each one finds in his
interiority, but not available.
The formation of consciousness
108. Forming the conscience is the path of all life in which one learns to nourish the
feelings of Jesus Christ by adopting the criteria of his choices and the intentions of his
actions (cf.
Fil 2,5). To reach the deepest dimension of consciousness, according to the vision
Christian, it is important a cure for the interiority that includes above all times of
silence, of
prayerful contemplation and listening to the Word, the support of sacramental practice
of the Church’s teaching. Furthermore, a habitual practice of the good, verified, is
in the examination of conscience: an exercise in which it is not only a question of
identifying sins, but
also to recognize the work of God in his daily experience, in the events of
history and cultures in which it is inserted, in the testimony of many other men and
women who are there
they have preceded or accompanied us with their wisdom. All this helps to grow in the
virtue of prudence, articulating the global orientation of existence with concrete
in the serene awareness of their gifts and their limits. The young Solomon has
asked for this gift more than anything else (see 1 Kings 3 : 9).
Ecclesial conscience
109. The conscience of every believer in his most personal dimension is always in
relationship with the ecclesial conscience. It is only through the mediation of the
Church and of her
a tradition of faith that we can access the authentic face of God revealed in Jesus
Christ. Spiritual discernment thus presents itself as the sincere work of conscience,
in its commitment to know the possible good on which to decide responsibly
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in the correct exercise of practical reason, within and in the light of the personal
with the Lord Jesus.
The practice of discernment
Familiarity with the Lord
110. As an encounter with the Lord who becomes present in the intimacy of the heart,
discernment can be understood as an authentic form of prayer. For this it requires
adequate timing of recollection, both in the regularity of daily life and in moments
privileged, such as retreats, courses of spiritual exercises, pilgrimages, etc. A serious
it feeds on all occasions for meeting with the Lord and for deepening familiarity
with Him, in the different forms with which it is made present: the Sacraments, and in
the Eucharist and Reconciliation; listening and meditating on the Word of God,
the Lectio
divine in the community; the fraternal experience of common life; the meeting with
the poor with whom
the Lord Jesus identifies himself.
The dispositions of the heart
111. Opening oneself to listening to the voice of the Spirit requires precise interior
dispositions: the
first is the attention of the heart, favored by a silence and an emptying that requires
asceticism. Equally important are awareness, acceptance of self and the
repentance, united with the willingness to put order in one’s own life, abandoning that
that it should prove to be an obstacle, and reacquire the inner freedom necessary to
make choices
guided only by the Holy Spirit. Good discernment also requires attention to
movements of one’s heart, growing in the ability to recognize them and give them a
Finally, discernment requires the courage to engage in spiritual struggle, since it does
the temptations and obstacles that the Malignant poses on our path will fail to
The accompanying dialogue
112. Different spiritual traditions agree that good discernment
require a regular confrontation with a spiritual guide. Bring to word in an authentic
and his personal experiences favor the clarification. At the same time the chaperone
assumes an essential function of external confrontation, becoming a mediator of
maternal of the Church. This is a delicate function referred to in the chapter
previous one.
The decision and confirmation
113. Discernment as a dimension of the style of life of Jesus and his disciples
allows concrete processes that aim to come out of indeterminacy by assuming the
responsibility for decisions. The processes of discernment can not therefore last
indefinitely, both in cases of personal paths, both in community and institutional
ones. At the
decision follows an equally fundamental stage of implementation and verification in
daily. It will therefore be essential to continue in a phase of attentive listening to
inner resonances to grasp the voice of the Spirit. The comparison with concreteness
takes place
a specific importance at this stage. In particular, various spiritual traditions report the
value of fraternal life and service to the poor as a testing ground for the decisions
and as a place where the person fully reveals himself.
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114. “And they said one to another:” Our heart might not burn within us while he
talked with us along the way, when he explained the Scriptures to us? ” They left
without delay
and they returned to Jerusalem, where they found the Eleven and the others they were
they, who said: “Truly the Lord is risen and has appeared to Simon!”. And they
they narrated what had happened along the way and how they had recognized it in
breaking the
bread ” ( Lk 24 : 32-35).
From listening to the Word we move on to the joy of an encounter that fills the heart,
gives meaning
to existence and infuses new energy. The faces light up and the path regains its
strength: it is the
light and the strength of the vocational response that becomes a mission towards the
community and the world
whole. Without delay and without fear the disciples return on their steps to reach the
brothers and witness their meeting with the risen Jesus.
A young Church
A resurrection icon
115. In continuity with the Easter inspiration of Emmaus, the icon of Mary Magdalene
Jn 20 : 1-18) illuminates the path that the Church wants to accomplish with and for
young people like
fruit of this Synod: a path of resurrection that leads to proclamation and to
mission. Inhabited by a deep desire of the Lord, defying the darkness of the night
Magdalene runs from Peter and from the other disciple; his movement triggers theirs,
feminine dedication anticipates the path of the apostles and opens the way for
them. At the dawn of that
day, the first of the week, comes the surprise of the meeting: Mary looked for why
he loved, but finds because he is loved. The Risen One is recognized by calling it by
name and le
he asks not to hold him back, because his Risen Body is not a treasure to be
imprisoned, but a
Mystery to share. Thus she becomes the first missionary disciple, the apostle of the
apostles. Healed from his wounds (see Lk 8,2) and witness to the resurrection, it is the
of the young Church we dream of.
Walking with young people
116. The passion for seeking the truth, the amazement before the beauty of the Lord,
ability to share and the joy of the ad live in the hearts of so many young people today
who are living members of the Church. So it’s not a matter of doing just something
“for them”,
but to live in communion “with them”, growing together in the understanding of the
Gospel and
in the search for the most authentic forms to live it and witness it. The partecipation
responsible for the young in the life of the Church is not optional, but a requirement of
baptismal service and an indispensable element for the life of every community. The
labors and fragility
young people help us to be better, their questions challenge us, their doubts there
question the quality of our faith. Even their criticisms are necessary, because
not infrequently we listen to the voice of the Lord who asks us to convert the
heart and renovation of the structures.
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The desire to reach all young people
117. At the Synod we have always asked ourselves about young people, not just in
those who are part of the Church and actively work in it, but also all those who
they have other visions of life, profess other faiths or declare themselves strangers on
the horizon
religious. All young people, no one excluded, are in the heart of God and therefore
also in the heart
of the church. However, we recognize frankly that this statement is not always that
resounds on our lips finds real expression in our pastoral action: often
we remain closed in our environments, where their voice does not arrive, or we
dedicate ourselves to activities
less demanding and more rewarding, stifling that healthy pastoral restlessness that
brings us out
from our supposed security. Yet the Gospel asks us to dare and we want to do it
without it
presumption and without proselytizing, bearing witness to the love of the Lord and
holding out his hand
to all the young people of the world.
Spiritual, pastoral and missionary conversion
118. Pope Francis often reminds us that this is not possible without a serious journey
conversion. We are aware that it is not just a question of giving rise to new activities
we do not want to write “expansionist apostolic plans, meticulous and well designed,
typical of the
defeated generals “(F RANCESCO , Evangelii gaudium , No. 96). We know that to be
we must live a reform of the Church, which implies purification of the heart and
of style. The Church must really let itself be shaped by the Eucharist which celebrates
culmination and source of his life: the shape of a bread made up of many ears and
broken for
the life of the world. The fruit of this Synod, the choice that the Spirit has inspired us
Listening and discerning is to walk with young people going towards everyone to
the love of God. We can describe this process speaking of synodality for the mission,
that is, missionary synodality: “The establishment of a synodal Church is a
indispensable for a new missionary impulse that involves the entire People of God
” 1 . Yes
it deals with the prophecy of the Second Vatican Council, which we have not yet
assumed in all of it
depth and developed in its daily implications, to which Pope reminded us
Francis affirming: “The path of synodality is the path that God expects from the
Church of the third millennium »(F RANCESCO , Speech for the 50th Memorial
anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops , 17 October 2015). We are
convinced that
this choice, fruit of prayer and comparison, will enable the Church, by the grace of
God, to
to be and to appear more clearly as the “youth of the world”.
1 C OMMISSION T EOLOGICA I NTERNAZIONALE , Synodality in the life and mission of the Church , 2 March
2018, n. 9. The document also illustrates the nature of synodality in these terms: “The
synodal dimension
of the Church expresses the character of the active subject of all the baptized and
together the specific role of the
Episcopal ministry in collegial and hierarchical communion with the Bishop of
Rome. This vision
ecclesiologica invites to promote the unfolding of the synodal communion between
“all”, “some” and “one”. TO
different levels and in different forms, on the level of the particular Churches, on that
of their groupings at the level
regional and on that of the universal Church, synodality implies the exercise of
the sensus fidei of the universitas
fidelium (all), the ministry of guidance of the college of Bishops, each with its
presbytery (some), and the
ministry of unity of the Bishop and of the Pope (one). The aspect is therefore
conjugated in the synodal dynamics
community that includes the entire People of God, the collegial dimension relative to
the exercise of the ministry
episcopal and the primatial ministry of the Bishop of Rome. This correlation promotes
that singularis
conspiratio between the faithful and the Pastors who is an icon of the
eternal conspiratio lived in the Holy Trinity »(No. 64).
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The A synodality MISSION OF C HURCH
A constitutive dynamism
The young people ask us to walk together
119. The Church as a whole, at the moment in which this Synod has chosen to deal
of young people, he made a very specific option: he considers this mission a pastoral
epochal on which to invest time, energy and resources. From the beginning of the
preparation path
young people have expressed the desire to be involved, appreciated and to feel coprotagonists
of the life and mission of the Church. In this Synod we have experimented that the
co-responsibility lived with young Christians is a source of profound joy also for the
We recognize in this experience a fruit of the Spirit that continually renews the
Church and calls her to practice synodality as a way of being and acting, promoting
participation of all the baptized and people of good will, each according to his
age, state of life and vocation. In this Synod, we have experienced that collegiality
joins the bishops cum Petro et sub Petro in solicitude for the People of God is called
articulate and enrich themselves through the practice of synodality at all levels.
The synodal process continues
120. The end of the meeting and the document that collects the fruits do not close
the synodal process, but they constitute a stage. Because the concrete conditions, the
real possibilities and urgent needs of young people are very different between
countries and continents,
even in the community of the one faith, we invite the Episcopal Conferences and the
details to continue this path, engaging in processes of discernment
that include those who are not bishops in deliberations, as has
made this Synod. The style of these ecclesial paths should include listening
fraternal and intergenerational dialogue, with the aim of developing pastoral
particularly attentive to marginalized young people and to those who have little or no
contact with
the ecclesial communities. We hope that families, institutes will participate in these
religious, associations, movements and young people themselves, so that the “flame”
of how much
we have experienced these days spreads.
The synodal form of the Church
121. The lived experience made the Synod participants aware of the importance of
a synodal form of the Church for the proclamation and transmission of faith. The
of young people has contributed to “awakening” synodality, which is a “constitutive
of the church. […] As St. John Chrysostom says, “Church and Synod are synonymous”

because the Church is nothing other than the “walking together” of the Flock of God
on the paths of
history meeting Christ the Lord “(F RANCESCO , Speech for the 50th Memorial
anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops , 17 October 2015). Synodality
it characterizes both the life and the mission of the Church, which is the People of
God formed by
young and old, men and women of every culture and horizon, and the Body of Christ,
in which
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we are members of one another, starting with those who are marginalized and
trampled. During
exchanges and through the testimonies, the Synod revealed some traits
fundamental of a synodal style, towards which we are called to convert.
122. It is in relationships – with Christ, with others, in the community – that faith is
Also in view of the mission, the Church is called to assume a relational face that
focuses on listening, welcoming, dialogue, common discernment in a path that
it transforms the life of those who participate in it. “A Synodal Church is a Church of
listening, in the
awareness that listening “is more than feeling”. It is a mutual listening in which each
one has
something to learn. Faithful people, Episcopal College, Bishop of Rome: the one
of the others; and all listening to the Holy Spirit, the “Spirit of truth” ( Jn 14,17), per
to know what He “says to the Churches” ( Revelation 2: 7) “(F RANCESCO , Discourse
for the
Commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops , 17
2015). In this way the Church presents itself as the “tent of the conference” in which
the ark is kept
of the Covenant (see Ex 25): a dynamic and moving Church that accompanies
walking, strengthened by many charisms and ministries. Thus God makes himself
present in this world.
A participatory and co-responsible Church
123. A characteristic feature of this style of Church is the enhancement of the
charisms that make it
Spirit gives according to the vocation and the role of each of its members, through a
dynamism of co-responsibility. To activate it, a conversion of the heart is necessary
a willingness to listen to each other, that builds an effective common
feeling. Animated by
this spirit, we can proceed towards a participatory and co-responsible Church, capable
to enhance the richness of the variety of which it is composed, gratefully receiving
the contribution of the lay faithful, including young people and women, that of
women’s consecrated life and
masculine, and that of groups, associations and movements. Nobody must be put or be
put aside. This is the way to avoid clericalism, which excludes many people
decision-making processes, as well as the clericalization of the laity, which closes
them rather than launches them
towards the missionary commitment in the world.
The Synod asks to make the active participation of young people in the places
effective and ordinary
of co-responsibility of the particular Churches, as well as in the bodies of the
Episcopal and of the universal Church. It also calls for the Office’s activity to be
young people of the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life also through the
constitution of a
representative body of young people at international level.
Community discernment processes
124. The experience of “walking together” as a People of God helps us to understand
the sense of authority is always better with a view to service. The ability of
to increase collaboration in witness and mission, and to accompany
processes of community discernment to interpret the signs of the times in the light of
faith and
under the guidance of the Spirit, with the contribution of all the members of the
community, starting from whom
it is on the edge. Ecclesial leaders with these skills need one
specific training in synodality. It seems promising from this point of view to structure
common formative courses among young lay people, young religious and
seminarians, in particular for
regarding issues such as the exercise of authority or team work .
Page 42
A style for the mission
Missionary communion
125. The synodal life of the Church is essentially mission-oriented: it is “the sign
and the instrument of the intimate union with God and of the unity of the whole
human race “( Lumen
gentium , n. 1), until the day when God will be “all in all” (1 Cor 15:28). Young
people, open
to the Spirit, they can help the Church to carry out the Easter passage of exit “from” I

individualistically meant by the ecclesial “we”, where each “I” is clothed with Christ
(see Gal 2:20), he lives and walks with his brothers and sisters as a responsible and
active subject
in the one mission of the People of God
synodality in the life and mission of the Church , March 2, 2018, n. 107). The same
passage, through the impulse of the Spirit and with the guidance of the Pastors, must
take place for the community
Christian, called to exit from the self-referentiality of the “self” of self-preservation
towards the service to the construction of an inclusive “we” towards the whole human
and of the whole creation.
A mission in dialogue
126. This fundamental dynamic has definite consequences on how to do it
a mission together with young people, which requires to open, with frankness and
without compromise, a
dialogue with all men and women of good will. As stated by St. Paul VI:
«The Church makes a word; the Church becomes a message; the Church speaks
“( Ecclesiam
suam , n. 67). In a world marked by the diversity of peoples and the variety of
“Walking together” is essential to give credibility and effectiveness to the initiatives
solidarity, integration, promotion of justice, and to show what it consists of
a culture of encounter and gratuitousness.
Just the young, who live daily in contact with their peers of others
Christian confessions, religions, convictions and cultures, stimulate the whole
Christian community a
living ecumenism and interreligious dialogue. This requires the courage
of parrhesia in the
to speak, and that of humility in listening, assuming asceticism – and sometimes
martyrdom – that
this implies.
Towards the peripheries of the world
127. The practice of dialogue and the search for shared solutions are clear
priorities in a time when democratic systems are challenged by low levels of
and from a disproportionate influence of small interest groups that do not have a large
feedback in the population, with the danger of reductionist, technocratic and
autoritaristiche. Fidelity to the Gospel will guide this dialogue in search of how to
response to the two-fold cry of the poor and the earth (see F RANCESCO , Laudato si ‘ ,
No. 49), towards
in which young people show particular sensitivity, inserting the inspiration of the
social processes into social processes
principles of social doctrine: the dignity of the person, the universal destination of
the preferential option for the poor, the primacy of solidarity, the attention to
the care of the common home. No vocation within the Church can be placed outside
out of this community dynamism of exit and dialogue, and therefore every effort of
accompaniment is called to measure itself against this horizon, reserving attention
privileged to the poorest and most vulnerable.
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From structures to relationships
From delegation to involvement
128. Missionary synodality is not just about the Church on a universal level.
The need to walk together, giving a real testimony of fraternity in a life
renewed and more evident community, concerns first of all the individual
communities. It is therefore necessary
awaken in every local reality the awareness that we are God’s people, responsible for
incarnate the Gospel in different contexts and within all daily situations. This
it involves going out of the logic of delegation which so much influences pastoral
We can refer, for example, to the catechetical paths in preparation for the sacraments,
they are a task that many families give completely to the parish. This
mentality has the consequence that the children risk to understand the faith not as one
reality that illuminates everyday life, but as a set of notions and rules that
belong to a separate area from their existence. Instead it is necessary to walk
together: the parish needs the family to make young people experience realism
daily of faith; the family vice versa needs the ministry of the catechists and of the
parish structure to offer children a more organic vision of Christianity, for
introduce them to the community and open them to wider horizons. Therefore it is not
enough to have some
structures, if authentic relationships do not develop in them; it is the quality of these
relationships, in fact,
that evangelizes.
The renewal of the parish
129. The parish is necessarily involved in this process, to take the form
of a more generative community, an environment from which the mission radiates to
the last. In
this particular historical juncture emerge several signs that testify that it, in
various cases, fails to correspond to the spiritual needs of the men of our time,
mainly due to some factors, which have modified the lifestyles of the
people. In fact, we live in a culture “without borders”, marked by a new relationship
space-time also due to digital communication, and characterized by one
continuous mobility. In this context, a vision of parochial action bounded by the suns
territorial borders and unable to intercept the faithful with diversified proposals, and
in particular
young people, would imprison the parish in an unacceptable immobility and in one
worrying pastoral repetitiveness. Therefore a pastoral rethinking of the
parish, in a logic of ecclesial co-responsibility and of missionary zeal, developing
synergies on the territory. Only in this way can it appear a significant environment
that intercepts it
life of young people.
Open and decipherable structures
130. In the same direction of greater openness and sharing it is important that the
individual communities question themselves to check if the lifestyles and the use of
the structures
they transmit to the young people a legible testimony of the Gospel. The private life of
priests, nuns, religious, bishops is undoubtedly sober and committed to the people; but
it is almost
Page 44
invisible to most people, especially to young people. Many of them find that our
ecclesial world is
complex to decipher; they are held at a distance from the roles we play and from the
that accompany them. Let’s make our ordinary life, in all his
expressions, be more accessible. Effective proximity, sharing spaces and activities
they create the conditions for an authentic communication, free from prejudices. It’s
this way
that Jesus brought the proclamation of the Kingdom and it is on this path that he
pushes us today too
Community life
A mosaic of faces
131. A synodal and missionary church manifests itself through local communities
inhabited by
many faces. From the beginning the Church did not have a rigid and homologous
form, but it was
developed as a polyhedron of people with different sensibilities, backgrounds and
cultures. just
in this way it has shown to bring the treasure in the clay vessels of human frailty
incomparable of the Trinitarian life. Harmony which is a gift of the Spirit does not
abolish the
differences, but gives them a symphonic richness. This meeting in the one faith
among different people is the fundamental condition for the pastoral renewal of the
our communities. It affects the announcement, the celebration and the service, that is
on the
fundamental areas of ordinary pastoral care. Popular wisdom says that “to educate one
child needs a village “: this principle applies today to all areas of pastoral care.
The community in the territory
132. The effective realization of a community with many faces also affects insertion
in the territory, on the opening to the social fabric and on the encounter with the civil
institutions. Only one
united and plural community can openly propose itself and bring the light of the
Gospel into the areas
of the social life that challenge us today: the ecological question, the work, the support
to the
family, marginalization, the renewal of politics, cultural and religious pluralism, the
path to justice and peace, the digital environment. This is already happening in the
associations and ecclesial movements. Young people ask us not to face these
alone and to dialogue with everyone, not to cut off a slice of power, but to contribute
to the
common good.
Kerygma and catechesis
133. The proclamation of Jesus Christ, dead and risen, who revealed the Father to us
and gave him
Spirit, it is the fundamental vocation of the Christian community. It is part of this
the invitation to young people to recognize in their lives the signs of God’s love and to
discover the
community as a place of encounter with Christ. This announcement is the foundation,
to revive, the catechesis of the young and gives it a kerygmatic quality (cf.
F RANCESCO , Evangelii gaudium , n. 164). The commitment to offer itineraries must
be kept alive
continuous and organic that they can integrate: a living knowledge of Jesus Christ and
Gospel, the ability to read one’s own experience and the events of history in faith, a
accompaniment to prayer and to the celebration of the liturgy, the introduction to
the Lectio
divine and support for the witness of charity and the promotion of justice,
thus proposing an authentic youth spirituality.
Catechetical itineraries show the intimate connection of faith with the concrete
experience of
Page 45
every day, with the world of feelings and bonds, with the joys and disappointments
that you
they experiment in the study and in the job; they know how to integrate the social
doctrine of the Church;
they are open to the languages of beauty, music and different artistic expressions, and
to the forms of digital communication. The dimensions of the corporeity, of the
affectivity and
of sexuality must be taken into account, since there is a deep intertwining of education
to faith and education to love. In short, faith must be understood as a practice, that is
as a form of inhabiting the world.
It is urgent that in the catechesis of young people the commitment to languages and
the others is renewed
methodologies, without ever losing sight of the essential, that is, the encounter with
Christ, who is the heart
of catechesis. They got appreciation YouCat , DoCat and similar tools, without
to leave out the catechisms produced by the various Episcopal Conferences. It is also
a renewed commitment to the catechists, who are often young people at the service of
other young people,
almost their peers. It is important to properly take care of their training and make sure
their ministry is more recognized by the community.
The centrality of the liturgy
134. The Eucharistic celebration is generative of community life and synodality
of the church. It is a place for the transmission of faith and formation for the mission,
in which it is
makes it clear that the community lives by grace and not by the work of its own
hands. With the
words of the oriental tradition we can affirm that the liturgy is meeting with the
Servant who wraps our wounds and prepares for us the Easter banquet, sending us to
the same with our brothers and sisters. It must therefore be clearly reaffirmed that the
commitment to
to celebrate with noble simplicity and with the involvement of the different lay
it is an essential moment of the missionary conversion of the Church. Young people
they have shown that they are able to appreciate and live intensely authentic
celebrations in which the
beauty of the signs, preaching care and community involvement speak
really of God. We must therefore favor their active participation, but keeping it alive
amazement for the Mystery; to meet their musical and artistic sensitivity, but to help
to understand that the liturgy is not purely an expression of self, but an action of
Christ and of the
Church. Equally important is to accompany young people to discover the value of
Eucharistic as a prolongation of the celebration, in which to live contemplation and
silent prayer.
135. Great importance, in the paths of faith, also has the practice of the sacrament of
Reconciliation. Young people need to feel loved, forgiven, reconciled and have one
secret nostalgia for the merciful embrace of the Father. This is why it is fundamental
that i
priests offer generous availability for the celebration of this sacrament. The
Community penitential celebrations help young people to approach confession
individual and make the ecclesial dimension of the sacrament more explicit.
136. In many contexts popular piety plays an important role in access for young
to the life of faith in a practical, sensitive and immediate way. Enhancing the language
of the body
and emotional participation, popular piety brings with it the desire to come into
with the God who saves, often through the mediation of the Mother of God and the
The pilgrimage is for young people an experience of journey that becomes a metaphor
of life and
of the Church: contemplating the beauty of creation and art, living fraternity and
Thus the best conditions for discernment are presented to the Lord in prayer.
Page 46
The generosity of diakonia
137. Young people can help renew the style of parish communities and
building a fraternal community close to the poor. The poor, the young discarded, the
suffering, they can become the principle of community renewal. They go
recognized as subjects of evangelization and help us to free ourselves from
spiritual. Often young people are sensitive to the dimension of diakonia . Many are
actively engaged in voluntary service and find the way to meet the Lord in service.
Thus, dedication to the latter truly becomes a practice of faith, in which one learns
that love “in loss” that is at the center of the Gospel and that is the foundation of the
Christian life. The poor, the little ones, the sick, the elderly are the flesh of the
suffering Christ: for
this putting themselves at their service is a way to meet the Lord and a privileged
for the discernment of one’s call. A particular opening is required, in different
contexts, migrants and refugees. With them we must work for the reception,
promotion and integration. The social inclusion of the poor makes the Church the
home of the Church
Youth ministry in a vocational key
The Church, a home for young people
138. Only a pastoral care capable of renewing itself starting from the care of
relationships and from
quality of the Christian community will be significant and attractive to young
people. The Church will be able to
thus presenting themselves to them as a welcoming home, characterized by a familymade
of trust and confidence. The yearning for fraternity, so many times emerged from the
synodal listening of the
young people, asks the Church to be “mother for all and home for many”
Evangelii gaudium , n. 287): pastoral care has the task of realizing motherhood in
universal of the Church through concrete and prophetic gestures of joyful reception
everyday that make it a home for young people.
The vocational animation of pastoral care
139. The vocation is the fulcrum around which all the dimensions of the person are
This principle concerns not only the individual believer, but also the pastoral in his
together. It is therefore very important to clarify that only in the vocational dimension
is the whole
pastoral can find a unifying principle, because in it it finds its origin and its
fulfillment. In the path of pastoral conversion in progress, therefore, we are not asking
to strengthen
the pastoral care of vocations as a separate and independent sector, but of animating
the whole
pastoral care of the Church by presenting effectively the multiplicity of vocations. The
end of the
pastoral care is in fact to help each one of us, through a path of discernment, to arrive
to the “measure of the fullness of Christ” ( Eph 4:13).
A vocation ministry for young people
140. From the beginning of the Synod journey, the need to qualify has emerged
vocationally for youth ministry. In this way the two characteristics emerge
indispensable for a pastoral care for young generations: it is “youthful” because its
recipients are in that singular and unrepeatable age of life that is youth; is
“Vocational”, because youth is the privileged season of life and life choices
Page 47
response to the call of God. The “vocationality” of youth ministry should not be
understood in
exclusive, but intensive way. God calls to all ages of life – from the womb up
to old age – but youth is the privileged moment of listening, of availability and
acceptance of the will of God.
The Synod advances the proposal that at the level of the National Episcopal
Conference is prepared
a “Youth Pastoral Directory” in a vocational key that can help those responsible
diocesan and local operators to qualify their training and action with and for young
From fragmentation to integration
141. While recognizing that planning for pastoral sectors is necessary to avoid
improvisation, on several occasions the Synod Fathers have communicated their
discomfort for
a certain fragmentation of the pastoral care of the Church. In particular they referred
to the various
pastoral care of young people: youth, family, vocational, scholastic and pastoral
university, social, cultural, charitable, leisure, etc. The multiplication of offices
very specialized, but sometimes separate, does not benefit from the significance of the
Christian proposal.
In a fragmented world that produces dispersion and multiplies memberships, young
they need to be helped to unify life by reading the experiences in depth
daily and discerning. If this is the priority, it is necessary to develop greater
coordination and integration between the different areas, moving from a work for
“offices” to a
work for “projects”.
The fruitful relationship between events and everyday life
142. During the Synod on many occasions there was talk of the World Day of the
Youth and also many other events that take place on a continental, national and
diocesan, together with those organized by associations, movements, religious
congregations and
from other ecclesial subjects. These moments of meeting and sharing are appreciated
almost everywhere because they offer the possibility of walking in the logic of
to experience fraternity with everyone, to joyfully share faith and grow
in belonging to the Church. For many young people they have been an experience of
transfiguration, in
they have experienced the beauty of the face of the Lord and made important life
choices. THE
The best fruits of these experiences are gathered in daily life. It becomes then
It is important to plan and implement these calls as significant stages of a
greater virtuous process.
Youth Centers
143. Specific spaces dedicated by the Christian community to the young, such as the
oratories and the centers
youth and other similar structures show the educational passion of the Church. They
they decline in many ways, but they remain privileged areas in which the Church
makes itself home
welcoming for teenagers and young people, who can discover their talents and put
them to
provision in the service. They transmit a very rich educational heritage, from
sharing on a large scale, in support of families and of civil society itself.
In the dynamism of an outgoing Church, however, it is necessary to think of a creative
and flexible of these realities, moving from the idea of static centers, where young
people can come,
to the idea of pastoral subjects in movement with and towards the young, that is,
capable of meeting them in the
Page 48
their ordinary places of life – the school and the digital environment, the existential
suburbs, the world
rural and work, musical and artistic expression, etc. – creating a new type
of more dynamic and active apostolate.
Some urgent challenges
144. Synodality is the method by which the Church can face old and new challenges,
being able to gather and make the gifts of all its members dialogue, starting with the
young. Thank you
at the Synod’s work, in the first part of this document we have outlined some areas
in which it is urgent to launch or renew the momentum of the Church in carrying out
the mission that
Christ has entrusted them, which we try to deal with in a more concrete way.
The mission in the digital environment
145. The digital environment is a challenge for the Church on many levels; is
It is therefore essential to deepen the knowledge of its dynamics and its scope from
anthropological and ethical point of view. It requires not only to inhabit it and to
promote it
its communicative potentialities in view of the Christian announcement, but also to
impregnate with
Gospel its cultures and its dynamics. Some experiences in this sense are already in
course and should be encouraged, deepened, shared. The priority that many assign
to the image as a communicative vehicle, it can not fail to question the modalities of
transmission of a faith based on listening to the Word of God and reading the Sacred
Writing. Young Christians, digital natives like their peers, find an authentic here
mission, in which some are already engaged. However, it is the young people
themselves who ask for
be accompanied in a discernment on the mature ways of life in an environment today
strongly digitalized that allows to seize the opportunities avoiding the risks.
146. The Synod hopes that appropriate offices or offices are set up at the appropriate
levels in the Church
organizations for digital culture and evangelization, which, with the indispensable
contribution of
young people, promote ecclesial action and reflection in this environment. Among
functions, as well as promoting the exchange and dissemination of good practices on a
personal level
community, and to develop appropriate tools for digital education and evangelization,
they could also manage certification systems for Catholic sites, to counteract the
spreading fake news regarding the Church, or looking for ways to persuade the
public authorities to promote increasingly stringent policies and instruments for the
protection of the public
minors on the web.
Migrants: breaking down walls and building bridges
147. Many of the migrants are young. The universal spread of the Church offers it
great opportunity to make the communities from which they leave and those in which
they dialogue dialogue
they arrive, helping to overcome fears and mistrust, and to strengthen the bonds that
they risk breaking. “Accept, protect, promote and integrate”, the four verbs with
which Pope Francis summarizes the lines of action in favor of migrants, are synodal
Page 49
Implementing them requires the action of the Church at all levels and involves all
members of the Church
Christian communities. For their part, the migrants, opportunely accompanied, will be
able to
to offer spiritual, pastoral and missionary resources to the communities that welcome
them. Of particular
importance is the cultural and political commitment, to be continued also through
structures, to fight against the spread of xenophobia, racism and refusal of
migrants. The resources of the Catholic Church are a vital element in the fight against
human beings, as is clear in the work of many religious. The role of Santa Marta
Group , which combines religious and law enforcement officials, is crucial and
a good practice to inspire yourself. The commitment to guarantee the right must not
be left out
effective to remain in their own country for people who would not want to migrate but
forced to do so and support for the Christian communities that migration threatens to
to empty.
Women in the Synodal Church
148. A Church that tries to live a synodal style can not help but reflect
on the condition and role of women within it, and consequently also in the
society. Young people and young people ask for it with great force. The reflections
they require to be implemented through a work of courageous cultural conversion and
change in daily pastoral practice. An area of particular importance to this
regard is that of the female presence in the ecclesial organs at all levels, also in
responsibilities, and of female participation in ecclesial decision-making processes
respecting the role of the ordained ministry. It is a duty of justice, which finds
inspiration in the way in which Jesus has related to men and women of his time,
as for the importance of the role of some female figures in the Bible, in the history of
salvation and in the life of the Church.
Sexuality: a clear, free, authentic word
149. In the current cultural context the Church struggles to transmit the beauty of the
Christianity of corporeity and sexuality, as emerges from the Holy Scriptures, from
Tradition and the Magisterium of the last Popes. A search for methods is therefore
urgently needed
more adequate, that translate concretely into the elaboration of formative paths
renewed. It is necessary to propose to young people an anthropology of affectivity and
capable also of giving the right value to chastity, showing the pedagogical wisdom of
more authentic meaning for the growth of the person, in all states of life. It is about
focus on empathic listening, accompaniment and discernment, on the line indicated by
recent Magisterium. For this reason it is necessary to take care of the formation of
pastoral workers who are
credible, starting from the maturation of their emotional and sexual dimensions.
150. There are issues concerning the body, affectivity and sexuality that are in need
of a deeper anthropological, theological and pastoral elaboration, to be realized in the
methods and at the most convenient levels, from local to universal. Among these
in particular those relating to the difference and harmony between male and female
identity and alle
sexual inclinations. In this regard, the Synod reaffirms that God loves each person and
it is the Church, renewing its commitment against all discrimination and violence on a
sexual. Equally reaffirms the determinant anthropological relevance of difference e
reciprocity between man and woman and considers it reductive to define the identity
of the people to leave
solely by their “sexual orientation” (C ONGREGATION FOR THE D OTTRINE OF THE
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F EDE , Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the pastoral care of persons
homosexuals , October 1, 1986, n. 16).
In many Christian communities there are already accompanying walks in the faith of
homosexuals: the Synod recommends encouraging these paths. In these paths people
they are helped to read their own story; to adhere with freedom and responsibility to
his own
baptismal call; to recognize the desire to belong and contribute to the life of the
community; to discern the best forms to make it happen. In this way we help each
young, no one excluded, to increasingly integrate the sexual dimension into one’s own
personality, growing in the quality of relationships and walking towards the gift of
Economy, politics, work, common home
151. The Church engages in the promotion of a social, economic and political life in
sign of justice, solidarity and peace, as young people also strongly demand.
This requires the courage to make voice of those who have no voice with
the world leaders ,
denouncing corruption, war, arms trade, drug trafficking and exploitation of resources
natural resources and inviting those responsible for it to conversion. In a perspective
integral, this can not be separated from the commitment to include the most fragile,
building paths that allow them not only to find an answer to their needs, but
also to contribute to the construction of society.
152. Aware that “work is a fundamental dimension of existence
of man on earth “( SAN G IOVANNI P AOLO II, Laborem exercens , No. 4) and that his
lack is humiliating for many young people, the Synod recommends to the local
Churches to favor e
to accompany the insertion of young people in this world, also through the support of
youth entrepreneurship initiatives. Experiences in this sense are widespread in many
premises and must be supported and enhanced.
153. The promotion of justice also challenges the management of Church
property. THE
young people feel at home in a church where economics and finance have lived in
transparency and consistency. Courageous choices in the perspective of sustainability,
indicated by the encyclical Laudato si ‘ , are necessary, as the lack of respect
environment generates new poverty, of which young people are the first victims. The
systems yes
they also change showing that a different way of living the dimension is possible
economic and financial Young people encourage the Church to be prophetic in this
field, with
words but above all through choices that show that an economy is friendly to the
and the environment is possible. Together with them we can do it.
154. Compared to ecological issues, it will be important to offer guidelines for the
implementation of Laudato si ‘ in ecclesial practices. Numerous interventions have
the importance of offering young people a formation in the socio-political
commitment and the resource that the
The social doctrine of the Church represents in this regard. Young people engaged in
they must be supported and encouraged to work for a real change in social structures
In intercultural and inter-religious contexts
155. Cultural and religious pluralism is a growing reality in the social life of young
people. THE
young Christians offer a beautiful testimony of the Gospel when they live their faith in
a way that transforms their life and their daily actions. They are called to open up to
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young people of other religious and spiritual traditions, to maintain authentic
relationships with them
foster mutual knowledge and heal from prejudices and stereotypes. They are
thus the pioneers of a new form of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, which
contributes to
freeing our societies from exclusion, extremism, fundamentalism and even from
manipulation of religion for sectarian or populist purposes. Witnesses to the Gospel,
these young people
with their peers become promoters of an inclusive citizenship of diversity and a
a socially responsible and constructive religious commitment to social ties and peace.
Recently, just on the proposal of young people, initiatives have been launched to offer
the opportunity to experience the cohabitation between members of different religions
and cultures,
because everyone in an atmosphere of conviviality and in respect of their respective
faiths are actors of one
common and shared commitment in society.
Young people for ecumenical dialogue
156. As regards the path of reconciliation among all Christians, the Synod is
grateful for the desire of many young people to grow unity among the Christian
separate. Engaging in this line, very often young people deepen the roots of
their own faith and experience a real openness to what others can give.
They sense that Christ already unites us, even if some differences remain. As has
Pope Francis affirmed on the occasion of the visit to Patriarch Bartholomew in 2014,
are the
young people “who today urge us to take steps towards full communion. And this
does not
because they ignore the meaning of the differences that still separate us, but because
they know
see beyond, are able to grasp the essential that already unites us
“(F RANCESCO , Intervention
on the occasion of the Divine Liturgy, Patriarchal Church of St. George , Istanbul, 30
Concreteness, complexity and integrality
157. The current condition is characterized by an increasing complexity of the
social and individual experience. The changes taking place in the concreteness of life
mutually influence and can not be addressed with a selective look. In
real everything is connected: family life and professional commitment, the use of
technologies e
the way of experiencing the community, the defense of the embryo and that of the
migrant. There
concreteness speaks to us of an anthropological vision of the person as totality and a
way of
know that it does not separate but grasps the connections, learns from experience by
re-reading it in the light
of the Word, it is inspired by the exemplary testimonies rather than by abstract
models. This
it requires a new formative approach, which points to the integration of perspectives,
capable of grasping the intertwining of problems and able to unify the different
dimensions of the
person. This approach is in deep harmony with the Christian vision that it
in the incarnation of the Son the inseparable meeting of the divine and of the human,
of the earth and of the
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Education, school and university
158. During the Synod there was a particular insistence on the decisive task e
irreplaceable vocational training, school and university, also because yes
it deals with places where most young people spend a lot of their time. In some
parts of the world basic education is the first and most important question that young
address the Church. It is therefore important for the Christian community to express a
significant in these environments with qualified teachers, significant chaplaincies and
a commitment
adequate culture.
The Catholic educational institutions, which express the
the Church’s concern for the integral formation of young people. These are precious
for the meeting of the Gospel with the culture of a people and for the development of
research. They
they are called to propose a model of formation that is capable of making the faith
with the questions of the contemporary world, with the different anthropological
perspectives, with the
challenges of science and technology, with changes in social customs and with
commitment to
Particular attention should be paid in these environments to the promotion of
youth in the fields of science and art, poetry and literature, music and
sport, digital and media, etc. In this way young people will be able to discover their
and then put them at the disposal of society for the good of all.
Prepare new trainers
159. The recent Apostolic Constitution Veritatis gaudium on universities and faculties
ecclesiastical has proposed some basic criteria for a training project that results
up to the challenges of the present: spiritual, intellectual and existential contemplation
of the kerygma, the full dialogue, the trans-disciplinarity exercised with wisdom e
creativity and the urgent need to “network” (see Veritatis gaudium , No. 4, d). These
they can inspire all the educational and training fields; their recruitment will go first to
advantage of training new educators, helping them to open up to a vision
sapiential and capable of integrating experience and truth. A fundamental task they
the Pontifical Universities at the world level and at the continental and national level
the Universities
Catholics and study centers. The periodic verification, the demanding qualification
and the
constant renewal of these institutions is a great strategic investment for the good of the
young people and of the whole Church.
Forming missionary disciples
160. The synodal path has insisted on the growing desire to give space and body to the
youthful protagonism. It is evident that the apostolate of young people towards other
young people can not
be improvised, but must be the fruit of a serious and adequate formative journey: how
accompany this process? How to offer better tools for young people to be
authentic witnesses to the Gospel? This question also coincides with the desire of
young people to learn more about their faith: discover their biblical roots, seize their
history of the doctrine, the sense of the dogmas, the richness of the liturgy. This
makes it possible to
young people reflect on current issues in which faith is put to the test, to know
to give reason for the hope that is in them (see 1 Pt 3:15).
This is why the Synod proposes the enhancement of experiences of youth mission
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through the establishment of evangelization training centers for young people and
to young couples through an integral experience that will end with sending in
mission. There are already initiatives of this kind in various territories, but every
Conference is asked
Episcopal to study its feasibility in its context.
A time to accompany discernment
161. Many times a heartfelt appeal to invest with
generosity for young educational passion, prolonged time and also economic
Collecting various contributions and wishes emerged during the synodal comparison,
listening to qualified experiences already underway, the Synod proposes with
conviction to all
Particular Churches, religious congregations, movements, associations and others
ecclesial subjects to offer young people an accompanying experience in view of the
discernment. This experience – whose duration must be fixed according to the
contexts and opportunities –
it can be qualified as a time destined for the maturation of adult Christian life .
It should provide for a prolonged detachment from the usual environments and
relationships, and be
built around at least three indispensable hinges: an experience of shared fraternal life
with adult educators that are essential, sober and respectful of the common home; a
strong and significant apostolic to live together; an offer of spirituality rooted in the
prayer and in sacramental life. In this way there are all the necessary ingredients
because the Church can offer young people who will want a profound experience of it
vocational discernment.
Accompaniment to marriage
162. The importance of accompanying couples along the path of preparation must be
to marriage, taking into account that there are several legitimate ways of organizing
such itineraries.
As Amoris laetitia states at n. 207, “it is not a matter of giving them all the Catechism,
nor of
saturate them with too many arguments. […] It is a sort of “initiation” to the sacrament
of the
marriage that provides them with the necessary elements to receive it with the best
provisions and start family life with a certain solidity “. It is important to continue
the accompaniment of young families, especially in the first years of marriage,
helping them also to be an active part of the Christian community.
The formation of seminarians and consecrated persons
163. The specific task of the integral formation of the candidates to the ordained
ministry and
the male and female consecrated life remains an important challenge for the
Church. Yes
also recalls the importance of a solid cultural and theological formation for
consecrated persons and
consecrated. As for the seminars, the first task is obviously the recruitment and the
operational translation of the new Ratio fundamentalis institutionis
sacerdotalis. During the
Some important underlining emerged from the Synod, which should be mentioned.
Firstly, the choice of trainers: it is not enough that they are culturally prepared, it is
that are capable of fraternal relationships, of an empathic listening and of profound
inner freedom. In
Secondly, for a proper accompaniment a serious and competent will be necessary
work in differentiated educational teams , including female figures. The constitution
these formative teams in which different vocations interact is a small but precious one
form of synodality, which affects the mentality of young people in initial
formation. Third
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place, formation must aim at developing in future pastors and consecrated persons the
capacity to
exercise their leadership role in an authoritative and non-authoritarian way, educating
young people
candidates to give themselves for the community. Particular attention should be paid
to some criteria
such as: overcoming tendencies to clericalism, the ability to work in a team , the
sensitivity for the poor, transparency of life, willingness to be accompanied. In
The seriousness of initial discernment is decisive in the fourth place, because it is too
often young people
present themselves at seminars or training houses are welcomed without knowledge
adequate and a thorough re-reading of their history. The question becomes particularly
delicate in the case of “wandering seminarians”: relational and affective instability,
and lack of
ecclesial roots are dangerous signs. To neglect the ecclesial norm to this
regard is an irresponsible behavior, which can have a lot of consequences
serious for the Christian community. A fifth point concerns the numerical consistency
of the
training communities: in those too big there is the risk of depersonalization
of the path and an inadequate knowledge of young people on the way, while those too
small ones risk being suffocating and subject to addictive logic; in these cases the
better solution is to set up inter-diocesan seminars or shared training houses among
religious provinces, with clear training projects and well-defined responsibilities.
164. The Synod makes three proposals to promote renewal.
The first concerns the joint formation of laity, consecrated persons and priests. It’s
keep young people and young people in constant contact with the daily life of
families and communities, with particular attention to the presence of female figures
Christian couples, so that formation is rooted in the concreteness of life and
characterized by a relational trait capable of interacting with the social and cultural
The second proposal implies the inclusion in the curriculum of preparation for the
ordained and consecrated life of a specific preparation concerning the pastoral care of
young people, through targeted training courses and lived experiences of apostolate
The third proposal asks that, within an authentic discernment of persons and of the
situations according to the vision and spirit of the Ratio fundamentalis institutionis
sacerdotalis ,
evaluate the possibility of verifying the training path in an experiential and
community sense.
This is especially true for the last stage of the journey which involves gradual
in pastoral responsibility. The formulas and the modalities can be indicated by
Episcopal Conferences of each Country, through their Ratio nationalis .
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Called to become saints
165. All the vocational differences are gathered in the one and universal call to the
holiness, which in the end can only be the fulfillment of that appeal to joy
of the love that resounds in the heart of every young person. Actually only starting
from the only one
the vocation to holiness can articulate the different forms of life, knowing that God
He wants saints and does not expect us to be content with a mediocre, watered down
inconsistent “(F RANCESCO , Gaudete et exsultate , No. 1). Holiness finds its source
inexhaustible in the Father, who through his Spirit sends us Jesus, “the saint of God”
( Mk 1:24)
come among us to make us holy through friendship with Him, which brings joy and
in our life. To recover in living the ordinary pastoral care of the Church the living
contact with
the happy existence of Jesus is the fundamental condition for every renewal.
Awaken the world with holiness
166. We must be holy to be able to invite young people to become so. The young have
clamored for an authentic, luminous, transparent, joyful Church: only a Church of
Saints can live up to these requests! Many of them have left it because they do not
have it
found sanctity, but mediocrity, presumption, division and corruption. Unfortunately,
the world is
outraged by the abuses of some people of the Church rather than revived by the
holiness of gods
its members: for this reason the Church as a whole must make a decisive, immediate
radical change of perspective! Young people need saints who form other saints,
thus showing that “holiness is the most beautiful face of the Church”
(F RANCESCO , Gaudete et
exsultate , n. 9). There is a language that all men and women of all times, places and
culture can understand, because it is immediate and luminous: it is the language of
Drawn by the sanctity of the young
167. It has been clear from the beginning of the Synodal path that young people are an
integral part
of the church. So too is their holiness, which has produced one in recent decades
multifaceted bloom in all parts of the world: contemplate and meditate during the
Synod the
courage of many young people who have renounced their lives in order to remain
faithful to the
Gospel has been moving for us; listen to the testimonies of the young people present
at the
Synod that in the midst of persecutions have chosen to share the Lord’s passion
Jesus was rejuvenating. Through the sanctity of the young the Church can renew her
spiritual ardor and its apostolic vigor. The balm of holiness generated by good life
of many young people can heal the wounds of the Church and of the world, bringing
us back to that fullness
of the love to which we have always been called: the young saints urge us to return to
our first love (see Ap 2 : 4).
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