In the last mass of his trip to Poland which he celebrated on Sunday before one million pilgrims near Krakow, Pope Francis had some choice words for young people who have garnered quite the reputation of being glued to their phone screens.
Intent on tackling the ‘menace’, after discussing once again, the terrorist threat and migrant crisis, the Pope urged young people during the weekend to stand up to violence, hatred and terror instead of being “couch potatoes” glued to “the screen of a cellphone.”
Drawing a comparison that young people often “confuse happiness with a sofa” as they have become indifferent to the increasingly dark events of the world, he reminded, as he did many times in the course of his five-day visit in Poland, that there are people who suffer; the sick, people with disabilities, the elderly and, especially, refugees.
Referring to the killing of an 85-year-old priest in France and other terrorist attacks, Pope Francis cited proof that the world was at war albeit not a war caused by religion. He said as he stood on the vast field in Brzegi, a village about seven miles east of Krakow, for World Youth Day;
“Today’s world demands that you be a protagonist of history, because life is always beautiful when we choose to live it fully, when we choose to leave a mark,”
“Some situations seem distant until, in some way, we touch them,” Francis said on Saturday night. “We don’t appreciate certain things because we only see them on the screen of a cellphone or a computer.”
“The times we live in do not call for young couch potatoes, but for young people with shoes or, better, boots laced. It only takes players on the first string, and it has no room for bench warmers.”
His visit to Poland had been his first trip to Central and Eastern Europe and the Pope had used his statements about complacency as a springboard to the issue of resistance in post-Communist countries to accepting refugees.
Pope Francis announced at the end that Panama would host the next World Youth Day in 2019.