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  • Writer's pictureDavid OMalley

Synod 66

66.      The young experience a restlessness that above all is to be accepted, respected and accompanied, with utter confidence in their freedom and responsibility.  The Church knows from experience that their contribution is fundamental for renewal.  Young people, in some respects, can be a step ahead of their pastors.  On Easter morning the young Beloved Disciple arrived first at the tomb, before Peter, who was weighed down by age and by betrayal (cf. Jn 20:1-10);  in the same way in the Christian community youthful dynamism is a renewing energy for the Church, because it helps her to shake off anything weighing her down or holding her back, so as to be open to the Risen Lord.  At the same time, the attitude of the Beloved Disciple indicates that it is important to remain in touch with the experience of the elderly, to recognize the role of pastors and not to go forward alone. 

This section of the final Synod document reminds those who work with young people to expect restlessness. It points to this energy as a kind of exploration for meaning and identity that is rooted in the Spirit. It also recognises that their energy and restlessness will oten take them ahead of their adult guides in seeing what is happening and identifying ways forward. They will rub salt into the wounds of an adult church that has compromised too much in the following of the Gospel. The young re-invigorate the church, light up the future and also irritate church in equal measure. We cannot be church without the young.

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