En route to Kraków and after he talks about the piecemeal third world war rearing its ugly head in the martyrdom of Fr Jacques Hamel, Francis says: ‘Thanks so much for your work on this Youth Day. Youth always speaks to us of hope. Let us hope that the young people will say something that gives us a little more hope, in this moment.’
In other words, this World Youth Day had something to do with awakening young people throughout the world to bring peace to the world. Here’s Francis at the Prayer Vigil at Campus Misericordiae elaborating on what he means by the ‘hope’ of which ‘youth’ speak:
We have come here from different parts of the world, from different continents, countries, languages, cultures and peoples. Some of us are sons and daughters of nations that may be at odds and engaged in various conflicts or even open war. Others of us come from countries that may be at “peace”, free of war and conflict, where most of the terrible things occurring in our world are simply a story on the evening news. But think about it. For us, here, today, coming from different parts of the world, the suffering and the wars that many young people experience are no longer anonymous, something we read about in the papers. They have a name, they have a face, they have a story, they are close at hand. (30 July 2016).
But how does this help young people build the ‘human bridge’ – this ‘primordial bridge,’ as Francis puts it in this same Vigil – to ‘point the finger at us [adults], if we choose the path of walls, the path of enmity, the path of war’?
I suppose the answer is ‘mercy,’ whatever that is. But looking through what Francis said in Poland, I think I’ve found his flawed Eastern Catholic attempt to give some oomph to ‘mercy.’
That’s tomorrow’s post.