Pope Francis underlines importance of intergenerational dialogue at Budapest meeting with Hungarian Jesuits

Pope Francis underlined the importance of dialogue between young and older people at a meeting with Hungarian Jesuits during his visit to Budapest, according to a summary of the meeting prepared by Antonio Spadaro SJ, the editor-in-chief of La Civilta Cattolica, and released in Hungarian by the Hungarian Province of the Society of Jesus on Tuesday.

The meeting took place on the second day of the apostolic visit the pope paid to Hungary between April 28-30.

“The old people cannot be in the infirmary alone; they have to be in community, so that exchanges between them and young people are possible,” the pope said.

Asked about the relationship between the Church and the modern world, Pope Francis said that it was still a topic discussed by the Second Vatican Council. He said the Council was still being applied. “It takes a century for a Council to be assimilated, they say. And I know the resistance to its decrees is terrible. There is incredible support for restorationism, what I call ‘indietrismo’ (backwardness),” the pope said. “The danger today is indietrismo, the reaction against the modern. It is a nostalgic disease. This is why I decided that now the permission to celebrate according to the Roman Missal of 1962 is mandatory for all newly consecrated priests,” he said.

The pope was also asked about how to simultaneously offer compassion and love under the Gospel’s teaching to those who have suffered sexual abuse and their abuser.

“It is not easy at all. How do we approach, how do we talk to the abusers for whom we feel revulsion? Yes, they too are children of God. But how can you love them?” the pope lamented. He added that “the abuser is to be condemned, indeed, but as a brother … it’s not easy. But they are God’s children too. They deserve punishment, but they also deserve pastoral care. How do we provide that? No, it is not easy,” said the pontiff.

Asked about the reason for his return to Hungary after his visit in 2021, Pope Francis said that first he had to go to Slovakia which was why he had spent only a few hours in Budapest to attend the International Eucharistic Congress. “At the time, I made a promise to come back, and here I am!,” he added.

Asked for his advice on how to engage and minister young people, the pope said the key word for him was “testimony”. “Testimony means consistency of life,” he said. The pope underlined the importance of speaking clearly to young people and showing them consistency. “Young people have a nose for when there is no consistency,” he said.

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