VATICAN CITY, 25 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (East region 1), who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.
Speaking about young people the Holy Father reminded the prelates how, during the Jubilee Year 2000, the Venerable John Paul II had described youth as "sentinels of the morning" whose "task it is to awaken their brothers and sisters as they sail in the vast ocean of the third millennium. As proof of this I recall the long queues of young people waiting to take Confession at the Circus Maximus, thus restoring the trust of many priests in the Sacrament of Penance", he said.
"As you know", the Pope went on, "the core of the spiritual crisis of our time has its roots in the obscuration of the grace of forgiveness. If this is not recognised as being real and effective it tends to free people from guilt, and the conditions for the existence of guilt are never achieved. But people 'liberated' in this manner know in their hearts that it is not true, that sin exists and that they themselves are sinners".
Benedict XVI highlighted how "we all need God as the Divine Sculptor Who removes the accumulation of dust and debris covering the image of God inscribed within us. We need forgiveness, which is the nucleus of all true reform. It rebuilds individuals from the depths of their hearts and is the core of the renewal of the community".
"Only a profound renewal of the person can act as foundation for the growth of the Church, the community that unites and supports us in life and death", he explained. "This community is on an upward journey, seeking the purification which enables us to understand the authentic meaning of the human being, seeking the company of God. As purification is achieved the upward journey - which is hard to begin with - becomes more joyful. This joy must be increasingly reflected in the Church, infecting the world, because it is the youth of the world".
"An undertaking such as this", Pope Benedict concluded, "cannot be completed with our own strength; rather, we need the light and grace that come from the Sprit of God and act in the depths of people's hearts and consciences. May that light and that grace help you and your dioceses in the formation of minds and hearts".AL/ VIS 20100927 (420)