Last Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI received participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Culture, which had the theme of "Emerging Youth Cultures". You can read the text of his whole message here (Grazie, Rocco!), but here are some clips… (emphasis mine
The Churches’ work in relation to the reality of youth (is) a complex reality, as has been said, and one that can not be understood within a the context of a culturally homogeneous universe, but with in a horizon that can be defined as "multiverse", that is determined by a plurality of views, perspectives and strategies. Therefore, it is appropriate to speak of "youth cultures", since the elements that distinguish and differentiate the phenomena and cultural areas prevail, over those which instead, they have in common.
There is thus a climate of instability that touches the cultural, as well as the political and economic spheres
– the latter also marked by young people’s difficulties in finding a job – mainly effecting people on a psychological and relational level. The uncertainty and fragility that characterize so many young people, often pushes them to the margins, rendering them almost invisible and absent in the cultural and historical processes of societies.
We can not, therefore, content ourselves with a view of the phenomena of youth cultural dictated by established paradigms, which have become clichés, analyze them with methods that are no longer useful, such as outdated and inadequate cultural categories.
I think, for example, of growing difficulties in the field of work or the effort it takes to remain faithful to the responsibilities we have taken on over time. An impoverishment, not only economic and social but also human and spiritual would follow, for the future of the world and of all humanity: If young people no longer had hopes, if they no longer progressed, if they no longer infused historical dynamics with their energy, their vitality, their ability to anticipate the future, we would find a humanity turned in on itself, lacking confidence and a positive outlook towards the future.
Although we are aware of the many problematic situations, which also affect the area of faith and membership of the Church, we renew our faith in the youth, to reaffirm that the Church sees their condition, their cultures, as an essential and unavoidable point of reference for her pastoral work.
I also want to reaffirm this forcefully: the Church has confidence in the youth, she hopes in them and in their energies, she needs them and their vitality, to continue to live the mission entrusted her by Christ with renewed enthusiasm.
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Meanwhile, in side news related to this Council gathering, well, it all started with a “rock concert” featuring the UK band The Sun… Which lead to this photogenic moment where a dread-locked band member was greeted by the Pope.