Nuncio urges U.S. bishops to provide example of faith for today’s youth

Categories: Nation/World

BALTIMORE (CNS) — The apostolic nuncio to the United States urged U.S. bishops to lead today’s young people by example, “not just by doctrinal teaching alone.”

“We have to let our young people know that their lives are worth living and that they were born for eternal glory, not for glamour, or guns or sensationalism,” said Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano in a Nov. 10 address at the annual fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore.

“They are crying out to us. They desperately need to be inspired, to have the life of Christ breathed back into them,” he added.

Both before and after his talk, the U.S. bishops gave the apostolic nuncio a standing ovation and they interrupted his address with applause particularly when he spoke of the need to help today’s youths find meaning.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano speaks at U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' annual fall meeting in Baltimore

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States, speaks Nov. 10 during the annual fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

The archbishop also pointed out that young people, as well as those of all ages, would benefit from knowing more about the lives of the saints, noting that youths would be inspired by their courage and the elderly would be comforted by their steadfast example of faith.

He also gave the personal example of how he read the life of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini to his mother during her last days of life.

“What a contrast for someone who takes their own life into their hands, for example, through suicide and euthanasia, which leaves no hope and future for those who accept and submit themselves to the dark culture of our times,” he said.

The archbishop, who referred to “saints in our very midst,” said they can help restore the church’s credibility.

“We know that the church, particularly in the United States, has been deeply wounded by the behavior of some priests and bishops by whose deplorable actions the church’s reputation has been strongly shaken,” he said.

Archbishop Vigano urged the bishops to “bring once again to light the sanctity of the church which exists in this country” and stressed that this can flourish in the United States particularly because of its “great pillar” of religious freedom.

“To suppress that freedom is to suppress the spirit of God that cries out in our midst,” he said. “We must work tirelessly with God to allow his spirit to continue to come forth through his church.”

He urged the bishops not to be afraid in their ministry of leading others, quoting St. John Paul II, who often said: “Do not fear.”

“If we expect people, especially our young people, to find direction and meaning in their lives, we ourselves must in total confidence teach them” to discern God’s spirit in their minds and hearts, he said. He also said the bishops “must continually learn how to listen with attentiveness and to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.”

“May we all have the courage and fortitude, the discernment and determination that we need to help bring this about,” he added.