Vatican City, Oct 16, 2018 / 01:00 pm (CNA).- Brazilian Archbishop Jaime Spengler said Tuesday he believes the question at the foundation of the Synod of Bishops’ debates so far has been how to pass the Catholic faith on to young people, specifically in the face of the challenges posed by contemporary society.
“I think that the basic question, which passes through all the discussion both in the synod hall and in the smaller groups (the language circles) is a very simple question, that is: how to transmit the faith to the new generations,” the archbishop told journalists Oct. 16.
In a press briefing just past the halfway mark of the Synod of Bishops’ ordinary general assembly on young people, faith, and vocational discernment, the archbishop noted two “phenomena” which present challenges: the great scientific and technological change of this era, and globalization.
“What counts in this world is productivity, consumerism, and earnings,” he said. “This reality strikes at the most profound values of our culture. It takes the lives of our young people.”
“How can the Church, how can we pastors, respond to the necessity of young people that… live this reality daily?” the archbishop asked.
Spengler also noted that an issue of importance in Brazil is drug use, which he said affects many young people and families, and which he would like to see discussed more at the synod than it has been thus far.
Cardinal Peter Turkson, speaking during the same press briefing Oct. 16, said he would like to see the synod help young people develop a “manual of life.” Everyone needs guiding principles, he explained, but often these are dictated by modern society, not by the Church or by good families and teachers.
Cardinal Louis Sako I, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon, said he has been keeping careful notes on the synod in Arabic to share with people in the Middle East, since for those who speak no other languages, it was their only means of following the synod’s progress.
He described the meetings as a miniature version of the universal Church and a school, saying everyone has “learned a lot from each other.”
The Chaldean patriarch noted this was his fourth synod, and said this one is very different, particularly “in the way in which we are reasoning and analyzing all the challenges that the young face.” Though he said he had hoped for a larger presence of youth, noting that there are just 34 young adult auditors and over 260 bishops.
He said in the synod hall and small groups they have discussed the hopes, dreams, and fears of young people and that he sees reasons to hope: “I think at the end of the tunnel there’s a great deal of light.”
Paolo Ruffini, prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, announced that the synod fathers will have the opportunity to take part in a short pilgrimage toward the end of the assembly.
Organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, it will take place on the morning of Oct. 25, and consist of prayer while walking around 3.7 miles along part of the “Via Francigena,” or “Way of St. Francis,” near Rome.