Pope Francis called on hundreds of thousands of young pilgrims in Panama on Saturday to reject the temptation to live their lives online, and get involved in their communities.
Life was not “in the cloud, waiting to be downloaded, a new app to be discovered, or a technique of mental self-improvement,” the 82-year-old pontiff told a massive vigil at the World Youth Day gathering.
“It is not enough to be connected all day long. To feel respected and asked to get involved, is greater than simply being online,” Francis said at the vigil, held at a park outside Panama City.
He urged them “to embrace life as it presented itself,” and look for areas where “with your hands, your heart and your head, you can feel part of a larger community that needs you and that you yourselves need.”
The World Youth Day organizers said 600,000 were massed at for the slickly produced vigil, with music, dance and periods of quiet contemplation.
Pope Francis also acknowledged that the Catholic Church was “wounded by sin” in a message addressed to priests and seminarians reeling from sexual abuse scandals and coverups.
In a mass that he officiated at the centuries-old Cathedral of Santa Maria La Antigua in Panama City, Francis warned of the “weariness of hope that comes from seeing a Church wounded by sin, which has so often failed to hear all those cries.”
It was the Argentine pontiff’s first reference to the sex abuse scandals rocking the Church since he arrived in Panama on Wednesday.