Young people are “crying out” for a challenge, and the Church must answer through saintly witness, the apostolic nuncio to the United States insisted to the nation's bishops on Monday. “We should ask ourselves,” Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano said, “why young people, submerged into the culture of these times, so often called the ‘culture of death,’ are setting among the most excessive and challenging experiences which some of them imagine themselves to find, even as far as the aberrations of ISIS.” “Obviously, young America is searching for something, or perhaps someone, to lead them beyond the frustrations they experience every day. They are looking well beyond just so-called happiness. They are searching for meaning and purpose to their existence.” The archbishop addressed the U.S. bishops in Baltimore on Nov. 10 at their annual autumn meeting. He gave examples of both the old and young choosing to embrace the “culture of death,” through acts such as assisted suicide and euthanasia for the elderly, and for the youth drug overdose and joining terror groups such as Islamic State. “What meaning and purpose young people can find in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit! How much fruit can be borne through a complete and total self-donation for the Gospel and the poor.” “We have to let our young people know that their lives are worth living, and that they were born for eternal life, not for glamour or guns or sensationalism. They are crying out to us. They desperately need to be inspired,” he stated. Pointing to Bl. Paul VI and his apostolic exhortation on evangelization, Evangelii nuntiandi, Archbishop Vigano emphasized his message that modern man responds better to witness than to teaching. Thus, the example of the saints is antidote to acts oriented toward the culture of death, Archbishop Vigano insisted. The witness of the saints — not only those who are canonized, but also the “undiscovered saints” living among us, he said, is essential. The nuncio exhorted the bishops to themselves provide a saintly witness to today’s youth. “Look to the example of the Apostles from their fidelity to Jesus, having given credibility to their words by their actions and ultimately by the shedding of their blood.” One way the Holy Spirit manifests himself in the United States is through “the great pillar of the freedom of religion,” which the nuncio warned has been “respected up until now in our country.” “The Spirit of God must be allowed to grow and flourish among us through the freedom of religion. To suppress this freedom is an attempt to suppress the Spirit of God that cries out in our midst; but let us remember that eventually God will have his way.” He offered praise for the dioceses of the U.S. “very alive and warmly welcoming their new pastor/bishops” and “that are rich in incredible beauty in their cathedrals, institutions, universities, schools, and hospitals.” He also called Catholics to, in the words of St. John Paul II, “be not afraid” to walk with Pope Francis. “We must not be not afraid to walk with our Holy Father, and to trust in the infinite value of following the Holy Spirit, as our First Teacher, in guiding the Church,” he exhorted.
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