By Verghese V Joseph
Copy Link
Pope Talks About Youth Concerns; Dedicates ‘Christus vivit’ Exhortation
11th Apr, 2019
By Verghese V Joseph

This Blog is by courtesy of

Vatican: In a landmark development, Pope Francis’ post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Christus vivit” (Christ is alive), was dedicated to the youth on Tuesday. The document, that was released at a press conference in the Vatican, is the outcome of the world Synod of Bishops on “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment”, held in the Vatican in October 2018.

The speakers in the press conference were: His Eminence Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops; H.E. Msgr. Fabio Fabene, under secretary of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops; Dr. Paolo Ruffini, prefect of the Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See; Ms. Laphidil Oppong Twumasi, head of the youth group of the Ghanaian community of the diocese of Vicenza; and Professor Alessio Piroddi Lorrai, second level secondary school teacher (diocese of Rome).

In his intervention, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri defined the Apostolic Exhortation as “a milestone in the Synod path”, and explained that “the Document published today will constitute for the near future a magna charta of youth and vocational pastoral ministry in the various ecclesial communities, all marked – although in different ways, depending on the different latitudes – by a profound transformation in the condition of youth”.

“The first aspect of the Apostolic Exhortation is its title: Christus vivit”, he remarked. “We all know that the beginning of an ecclesiastical document usually offers an overall hermeneutical key to the text. The fundamental message that the Holy Father wishes to transmit, to the young and, with them, to all of us, is that Jesus Christ does not belong only to the past, but also to the present and the future, because He is the eternal Living One. Every generation of believers discovers in Christ a contemporary and a travelling companion”.

“A second aspect of the Apostolic Exhortation is its Marian nature”, he continued, “as clearly shown by the Holy Father’s symbolic decision to sign the document at Loreto, in the house of Mary, this 25 March, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord”.

A third aspect that I must highlight is the style of the Document and its intended recipients. It is a post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation that explicitly assumes the form of a “letter” (see 3). A letter addressed first and foremost to the young: therefore, on many occasions the Pope addresses them directly, using the informal “tu”. It is the same style characteristic of the Holy Father in his encounters with the young: a style made up of closeness, frankness, simplicity, tenderness and warmth”.

“In any case”, he concluded, “this letter is addressed “to the entire People of God, pastors and faithful alike, since all of us are challenged and urged to reflect both on the young and for the young” (3). Therefore: all the young, but not only the young. For this reason, there are many paragraphs in which the Pope proposes “more general considerations for the Church’s discernment” (ibid), aware that the issue of the young relates to us all, and that adults are called at the same time to give and to receive from the young”.

Bishop Fabio Fabene went on to highlight some specific content of the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, commenting first that it was “is significant that the publication of this document takes place on the anniversary of the death of Saint John Paul II, the pope who wrote the first Letter to the Youth of the World in 1985 on the occasion of International Youth Year”.

Msgr. Fabene went on to remark that “Christus vivit is distinguished by its strong Christological nature and by the distinctive note of love that resounds throughout. The Holy Father reminds every young person that “God loves you”. … The whole document is inspired by the trust that the Pope places in the young (and by the repeated invitation he addresses to them to fix their hope in Christ, so that no-one may take it away from them”.

Among the many elements that could be underlined, under-secretary Fabene noted first “the relationship that the Holy Father shows between the young and the ‘entire People of God, pastors and faithful’… There does not exist a ‘Church of the young’, nor does there exist a ‘Church with the young or for the young’. There exists a single ‘body’, the Church, of which the young are living and creative members, who contribute, with their very belonging, to the well being of all and to the mission of the proclamation of the Gospel and of the beauty of life in Christ on behalf of the entire ecclesial community”.

In harmony with the Fathers gathered last October in Rome, Pope Francis reaffirms decisively “the importance of synodality in the Church. He underlines that youth pastoral ministry itself must be synodal and therefore capable of giving form to an effective ‘walking together’. There emerges from the text almost a proposal for alliance that the Holy Father addresses to young people: an invitation to collaborate to build a better future, in particular in relation to those areas identified by the Synod Assembly as crucial points, that run through the life of the Church and of society: the digital environment, migrants, the issue of abuse of minors”.

Reacting to the development, Fr. Amarnath Dinesh Roy, Director of the Youth commission of the Indian Archdiocese of Bangalore in conversation with Sr. Carmel Ann of Vatican News hoped that the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on young people would give an assurance that the Church is for the youth, that the Church is a safe place where they are protected, their talents enhanced, creativity nurtured and thus their ministry fulfilled.

Fr. Roy was happy that the Pope has chosen to address the issues of the youth. He said that in order to draw them to the Church, the Church must speak the language of the youth and provide them challenges.

By Leon Bent