“While in Ukraine and other places in the world there is fighting, and while in certain hidden halls war is planned — it’s terrible, isn’t it? War is planned — World Youth Day showed everyone that another way is possible: a world of brothers and sisters, where the flags of all peoples fly together, next to each other, without hatred, without fear, without closing up, without weapons,” the pope said to an outbreak of applause.
“The message of the young people was clear: will the ‘great of the earth’ listen to it? I ask myself: will they listen to this young enthusiasm that wants peace?” he said.
“It is,” he continued, “a parable for our time, and even today Jesus says: ‘He who has ears, let him hear! He who has eyes, let him look!’ We hope that the whole world will listen to this Youth Day and look to this beauty of youth going forward.”
At the end of his audience, Pope Francis expressed his closeness to the people of Slovenia and Georgia, who have experienced devastating natural disasters this week, including flooding and landslides.
In Slovenia, at least six people have died, while in Georgia, at least 16 were killed and 35 more are missing, according to local officials.
“I pray for the victims and express my spiritual closeness to their families and to all those who are suffering as a result of these disasters, while I thank those who have offered them assistance, especially the volunteers,” the pope said.
Francis also noted the Catholic Church’s celebration of the feast of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, also known as Edith Stein, a co-patroness of Europe.
“May her witness stimulate commitment to dialogue and fraternity among peoples and against all forms of violence and discrimination,” he said. “To her intercession we entrust the dear people of Ukraine, that they may soon find peace again.”