"Open your hearts to the dimensions of the world..."
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. For this reason I would like to retrace some significant passages from the Message that the Second Vatican Council addressed to young people, as a grounds for reflection and inspiration for new generations. First it was stated: "The Church looks to you with confidence and love ... She possesses what constitutes the strength and the charm of youth, that is to say, the ability to rejoice with what is beginning, to give oneself unreservedly, to renew oneself and to set out again for new conquests". The Venerable Paul VI addressed this appeal to the youth of the world "it is in the name of this God and of His Son, Jesus, that we exhort you to open your hearts to the dimensions of the world, to heed the appeal of your brothers, to place your youthful energies at their service. Fight against all egoism. Refuse to give free course to the instincts of violence and hatred which beget wars and all their train of miseries. Be generous, pure, respectful, and sincere, and build in enthusiasm a better world than your elders had".
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. I very much hope, therefore, that the Year of Faith be, even for the younger generation, a precious opportunity to rediscover and strengthen our friendship with Christ, which brings forth joy and enthusiasm to profoundly transform cultures and society.
Pope Benedict XVI
Address to the Plenary of the Pontifical Council for Culture February 7, 2013