18 November 2021
Ad limina

To bring young people back to the Church, it is necessary to offer them meaningful experiences

With the arrival of the fourth group of Polish bishops on October 25, the cycle of ad limina visits to the Dicastery by bishops from this European country came to an end
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. So many pressing pastoral issues! Speaking of the laity, they expressed deep concern about the marked and growing number of faithful who, while attending Sunday Mass, lead a life that is little affected by Christian values, a divide that can be reduced and overcome only with the specific contribution of the laity themselves. Therefore, the laity must be solidly trained, made actively co-responsible for ecclesial structures and, above all, strongly encouraged to be missionaries in society. Priests, too, will have to do their part, moving out of their pastoral routine and daring to adopt a more synodal and collaborative approach with the laity. A special effort will also have to be made to overcome the indifference of young people. According to the Prelates, a new language must be coined for them that can explain the beauty of God's plan and convince them to live according to that plan. "It is fundamental”- added Fr. Alexandre, Secretary of the Dicastery – “to propose to them meaningful experiences, whether they be volunteer work, friendship, social commitment, all things that touch the fibers of the hearts of young people and from which an authentic encounter with Christ can be born."

On the theme of the family, due to a number of old and new factors (communism, the impact of the West, the phenomenon of migration), the bishops pointed to an inexorable decline in marriages in general and sacramental marriages in particular in favor of an increasingly widespread culture of cohabitation. These numbers, added to those of failed marriages - which are also on the rise everywhere in the country - give a measure of the challenge that the Church in Poland must take up in the field of family pastoral care. And it must be done quickly - the Bishops acknowledged - because the effects of this new trend are beginning to be felt in other areas of the Church. For example, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a suitable godparent to accompany children and young people in the sacraments of Christian initiation. Faced with these challenges, all agreed that the exhortation Amoris Laetitia is an important pastoral tool today for discerning these situations and deciding on the correct pastoral attitude to take.

Touching on the topic of "movements," some bishops highlighted the risk of a personalistic drift on the part of some of their leaders. In reaffirming the need for constant vigilance on the part of the bishops regarding the aggregations present and operating in their territory, Dr. Ghisoni, Under-Secretary of the Dicastery in charge of the laity, also recalled how the mens of the recent General Decree of the Dicastery regulating the exercise of government in international associations of the faithful was precisely, among other things, to stem the phenomenon of personalism at the top of the aggregations and to reaffirm the nature of service of every form of government in the Church.