Pope urges Bangladeshi youths to grow up with spirit of harmony

Pope Francis yesterday urged the youth to grow up with the wisdom of God which he said refers to “communal harmony, fraternity and goodness”.

“Wisdom of God continues to inspire your (youth) commitment to grow in love, fraternity and goodness,” he said addressing a rally of estimated 10,000 youths at Notre Dame College premises here in his last programme of the three-day papal visit in Bangladesh.

Young Muslims and followers of other faiths joined the rally which the 8- year-old chief Catholic priest noted with joy saying “today you show your determination to foster an environment of harmony, of reaching out to others, regardless of your religious differences.”

He advised the youth to keep up social friendship and be determined to say no to anything that would stand on their way to come together and to develop the attitude of helping each other.

“The wisdom of God helps us to know how to welcome and accept those who act and think differently than ourselves. It is sad when we start to shut ourselves up in our little world and become inward-looking,” the pontiff said.

He said when a certain community, a religion or a society turns into a “little world” they lose the best that they have and plunge into a self- righteous mentality of — I am good and you are bad”.

Pope Francis said the wisdom helps to recognize and reject false promises of happiness while “a culture that makes these false promises cannot deliver; it only leads to a self-centredness that fills the heart with darkness and bitterness”.

The spiritual leader of the Catholic Christians advised the young people to give more time to their family rather being busy with their digital devices.

“Keep talking to your parents and grandparents. Do not spend the whole day playing with your phone and ignoring the world around you,” he told the gathering, which drew student participants from different missionary schools and colleges across the country.

“Your culture teaches you to respect the elderly . . . elderly (people) help us to appreciate the continuity of the generations (as)they bring with them memory and the wisdom of experience, which help us to avoid the repetition of past mistakes,” he said.

The Pope said the senior people have the “charisma of bridging the gap”, to ensure that the most important values are passed down to their children and grandchildren.

Francis, the leader of the nearly 3 billion Roman Catholic concluded his speech by uttering “God Bless Bangladesh” in Bengali.

Earlier today the Pope joined a gathering of Catholic bishops, priests, nuns and brothers at the at the Holy Rosary Holy Rosary Church at Tejgaon where he compared “gossip”, which he apparently meant to refer backbiting, to terrorism, and said it acts like bombs to destroy communities and harmony.

“Gossiping is a kind of terrorism . . . Hold your tongue, bite your tongue. Try to have the spirit of joy and peace,” he said and advised all to hold tongue and speak honestly and openly about anything to anybody for solving any issues.

Pope also visited the Christian Cemetery beside the Church.

In the morning, the world’s top Catholic priest was greeted by hundreds of Bangladeshi nuns while he went to visit the Mother Teresa House clinic in Tejgaon.

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