Earlier this month Pope Francis released his Post-Synodal Exhortation Christus Vivit (Christ is Alive) to Young People and to the entire People of God, following the Synod of Bishops in October 2018. The theme of the Synod was “Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment”.
The Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales took three delegates to the Synod of Bishops in October 2018: Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, Bishop Ralph Heskett, Bishop of Hallam and Bishop Mark O’Toole, Bishop of Plymouth.
Welcoming the publication of Christus Vivit, they said: “What a joy it is to receive this Post-Synodal Exhortation ‘Christ is Alive’. Reading it brings back all the best features of the Synod of Bishops we attended last October: the vitality of young people; their love for the Church and for us Bishops; their willingness to face the difficult challenges before us; their capacity for prayer and a living, loving relationship with Jesus. We thank Pope Francis so warmly for this remarkable document which will now be pored over by many young people and brought to bear on their lives.
“The closing words of this Exhortation will be so welcome: ‘The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith. We need them! And when you arrive where we have not yet reached, have the patience to wait for us’ (299).
“Here is a great invitation from Pope Francis asking all of us to reflect on so many aspects of our world today, a world in which hunger, homelessness, violence, cruelty and exploitation touch and diminish the lives of so many young people. These and many other challenges face young people in particularly dramatic ways, including the rights and roles of women and our own past in the Church (42); the exploitation of the images of young people (79); the desires, hurts and feelings of young people, including their sexuality (81); the digital world (86); abuse of every kind (95).
“The Pope writes with great vigour of the message of the Living Christ and invites young people to ‘make the most of these years of youth’ (143), in friendship with Christ (150), in ‘strong social friendships’ (169) and always as ‘courageous missionaries’ (175).
“He also spells out the challenges for ministry in the Church and speaks about the task of true discernment.
“In ‘Christ is Alive’ we have received a great gift. Now we can open the wrapping and delve into the richness of what we have been given!”