Saturday 22 October 2016

Pope tells young 'get off the sofa and make a difference'

Matthew Day Warsaw

Published 01/08/2016 | 02:30

Pope Francis greets the crowds in Krakow yesterday. Photo: Reuters
Pope Francis greets the crowds in Krakow yesterday. Photo: Reuters

Pope Francis has warned young people the world has no need of "couch potatoes" who take to a sofa to "escape to the world of video games".

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The Pope made the warning during an address to more than a million people in Poland on Saturday night at World Youth Day, a festival nicknamed the 'Catholic Woodstock' that brought hundreds of thousands of young people from all over the world to the former communist country.

"Dear young people, we did not come into the world to vegetate. We came for another reason: to leave a mark," said the Pope. "The times we live in do not call for young couch potatoes but for young people with shoes, or, better, boots laced."

He warned of a "harmful and insidious paralysis" that comes from "confusing happiness with a sofa".

"A sofa that promises us hours of comfort so we can escape to the world of video games and spend all kinds of time in front of a computer screen," he said.

Yesterday, Pope Francis addressed a crowd of an estimated 2.4 million during a Mass near the Polish city of Krakow, which marked the culmination of his five-day visit to the country, telling them to reject "hatred between people" and to love everyone, "even our enemies".

Addressing the vast crowd spread across a meadow, Pope Francis called on the young to find the courage to "be more powerful than evil" and reject hatred.

"People may judge you to be dreamers, because you believe in a new humanity: one that rejects hatred between peoples, one that refuses to see borders as barriers and can cherish its own traditions without being self-centred," he said.

"Don't be discouraged: with a smile and open arms, you proclaim hope and you are a blessing for our one human family," he continued.

He also called on the young to distrust the "worldly cult of appearances and cosmetics". "Instead, download the best link of all, that of a heart that sees and transmits goodness without growing weary," he implored.

The Pope was greeted by adoring crowds during his visit to Poland, a country that remains one of the most Catholic in the world, with around 98pc of the population classified as Catholic. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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