(RepublicanDaily.org) – If the crowd at this year’s International World Youth Day is any indication, Pope Francis is more popular than ever, as the pontiff called on the Catholic faithful worldwide to fight for economic justice and take better care of the environment.
This year’s International World Youth Day, which is celebrated every 2-3 years, took place in Lisbon, Portugal, that saw throngs of people – an estimated 500,000 – from all over the world cheered for the Pope as he waved happily to the crowds. Attendees braved the hot weather in the city’s Edward VII Park to catch a glimpse of what many describe to be the most progressive pope in the history of the Catholic Church.
Francis also led the crowd in a chanting of the word “todos,” which is Portuguese and Spanish for “everyone,” as he called on attendees to become more inclusive and welcoming. “There is room for everyone in the church,” the pope said, adding that Catholics should emulate Christ, who does not close doors on people but instead “invites us to enter.” In the church, “no one is superfluous, no one is left over,” he added.
The pope emphasized his message of inclusivity in a separate talk at Portugal’s Catholic University, calling on students to reject the “present global system of elitism and inequality,” and instead use their degrees to work towards a “more just and inclusive — that is, truly progressive — society.”
The 86-year old pontiff’s message and progressive stance has resonated with many attendees, especially those from the younger generation. Speaking to news outlets, many expressed support for the pope views, such as 19-year old Littletown, Colorado, native Maria Seybert, who said she liked the pope’s admission that the church is “very broken” and filled with “sinners and broken people.” Italian Gaia Selva said she liked Francis’ “thoughts on many things” and called the pontiff a “very modern pope.”
However, not all have been thrilled with the events of the World Youth Day. In a tweet, Tyler Texas Bishop Joseph Strickland bemoaned the current state of the event, saying that it had “fallen prey to the current trend” of secularization, and in the process, has forgotten the need to highlight Christ.
Not everything on Pope Francis’ agenda consisted of large events – he took a handful of confessions, including that of 21-year-old Francisco Velarde from Spain, who said that this time with the pontiff was the “confession of his life” where he was urged by the pope to “be brave and have courage” and encourage other young people to do the same. Francis addressed the 25,000 volunteers and staff of the event and thanked them for their service.
Copyright 2023, RepublicanDaily.org