On the second day of his trip to Portugal, Pope Francis addressed several thousand students at the Catholic University in Lisbon on Thursday morning. In his speech, according to Kathpress, the Pope called for academic education to be understood as a mission for all of society.
A university should not serve to perpetuate the “current elitist and unequal system in the world, in which higher education remains a privilege for the few,” Francis explained, continuing, “If knowledge is not perceived as a responsibility, it becomes sterile. If those who have enjoyed higher education (which today remains a privilege in Portugal and throughout the world) do not strive to give back some of what they have received, they have not fully understood what they have been granted.”
The Pope strongly appealed to students to work for a comprehensive ecological turnaround in politics and economics. It is necessary; he said, “to redefine what we call progress and evolution. For in the name of progress, the way has been paved for too much regression.”
The open-air meeting was attended by about 7,000 people, including students, academics and representatives of civil society and the Church. Afterwards, the Pope was scheduled to meet with 25 students who had come to Portugal as refugees with the support of the Pope Francis Fund. The Catholic university, founded in 1967, currently has about 12,000 students.
Pope Francis also met young people from Ukraine in Lisbon. The Pope listened to the touching stories of the 15 men and women and assured them of his closeness, the Vatican said Thursday, according to Kathpress. During World Youth Day, the meeting lasted about 30 minutes at the Vatican Embassy in Lisbon, where Francis is staying. The Ukrainian government adviser accompanied the pilgrims, who then prayed the Lord’s Prayer with the Pope. About 500 of the approximately 600,000 participants at World Youth Day are from Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the World Youth Day participants prepared on Thursday for the first major meeting with the Pope. In the early evening, the young faithful plan to officially welcome Francis at a ceremony in Lisbon’s “Eduardo VII” Park.
The previous evening, the 86-year-old had met with 13 victims of sexual abuse by clergy and, according to the Vatican, “listened to them intensively.” According to the independent report of a commission, at least 4815 children have been abused in Portugal by members of the Church, mainly priests, since the 1950s.
The Church expects a total of about one million, mainly young people, to attend World Youth Day, the largest Catholic event in the world. The program of the six-day major event ranges from cultural events and debates to prayer sessions and masses.
The program of the 86-year-old Pope, hospitalized for several days after abdominal surgery in June, includes eleven public appearances and about 20 meetings. On Saturday, he will visit the pilgrimage site of Fatima, north of Lisbon. On Sunday, he will lead the closing service of World Youth Day in a park on the outskirts of Lisbon.
- source: k.at/picture: pixabay.com