Today’s world needs “transgressive” young people

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ROME, Italy — Pope Francis called on young people to be “transgressive” on Sunday instead of conforming to the expectations of the world around them.

Today, “we need young people who are truly ‘transgressive’, non-conformists, who are not slaves to their mobile phones, but who change the world”, the pontiff told those gathered at the cathedral in Asti for his weekly Angelus message.

If they are transgressive, they will be “like Mary, bringing Jesus to others, caring for others, building fraternal communities with others, realizing dreams of peace!” adds the pope.

The Virgin Mary went “in haste” to visit her elderly cousin Elizabeth when she learned she was pregnant, the pope mused.

This is what young people today need to do, he proposed, to “get up and go – not to sit still thinking about ourselves, wasting our lives and chasing comfort or the latest fashions, but to aim for the heights, to move, from behind our own fears to reach out to those who need it.

Francis often used provocative expressions in his contacts with young people, urging the young people of Rio de Janeiro to “make a mess” in the Church and in society, a message he repeated on several occasions.

“I want to tell you something. What do I expect as a consequence of World Youth Day? I want a mess,” he said in 2013.

“We knew that in Rio there would be a big mess, but I want troubles in the dioceses!” he said. “I want to see the Church come closer to the people. I want to get out of clericalism, of the banal, of this confinement within ourselves, in our parishes, our schools or our structures. Because these must come out!

The pope spent the weekend in the northern Italian town of Asti, his family’s ancestral home, where he received honorary citizenship from the local mayor.

There he used another peculiar turn of phrase, insisting that the world is experiencing “a famine of peace”.

“Think of the number of places in the world that are scarred by war, especially war-torn Ukraine. Let’s roll up our sleeves and keep praying for peace! he said.

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