'Go against the current', says Pope during meeting at St Peter's Basilica

Fight off a drug- and alcohol-pushing culture and other hazardous trends sweeping across today’s world, Pope Francis has told young people.

“In life, there will always be people who will make you offers to slow or impede you on your way. Please, go against the current. Be courageous,” he said.

He also asked for prayers for his ministry “because this work is unhealthy, it’s not good for you,” he added with a laugh.

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The Pope made his comments during a meeting in St Peter’s Basilica with some 500 young people from the northern Italian diocese of Piacenza-Bobbio. They were in Rome as part of a Year of Faith pilgrimage with their bishop.

In unscripted remarks, the Pope said he loved being with young people because they always carry and share the joy and hope in their hearts.

If older adults complain about how miserable things are in life and that nothing can be done about it, the Pope said he just reminds them that something can be done and an individual can actually do a lot.

However, if a young person shows similar pessimism, “I send him to a psychiatrist” because it’s incomprehensible when a young person doesn’t want to conquer the world, do something great and bet on big, great ideals for the future.”

“You are the makers, the craftsmen of the future,” he said.

He urged his audience to go out and “make noise” because “where there are young people there must be noise.”

Be courageous, he said, and when people say “‘have a little alcohol, take a bit of drugs’. No. Go against this civilisation that is causing us so much harm.”

Going against the current, he said, means making noise with the virtues of beauty, goodness and truth.

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