Don't Be Seduced, Benedict XVI Tells Youth

Says World Needs Daring Christians

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LORETO, Italy, SEPT. 2, 2007 ( Benedict XVI invited half a million young people to go against the current in a world seduced by violence, despotism and "success at all costs."

The Pope's appeal resounded at the closing Mass today in Loreto, where the Holy Father arrived Saturday for an encounter with youth from Italy and around the world.

"There are so many messages, above all through the media, that are being directed toward you! Be vigilant! Be critical!" the Pontiff exclaimed.

Most of the young pilgrims had spent the night under the stars or in large tents. There were 150 bishops and 2,000 priests who concelebrated the Eucharist with the Pope.

Benedict XVI spoke to the youth a few kilometers from the Italian national shrine, where, according to tradition, Mary’s house was carried stone by stone from Nazareth.

He explained to the young people that the humility that they heard about in the Gospel passage read at Mass ("Whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted," Luke 14:11) is not "the way of renunciation but of courage."

Under a scorching sun, the Bishop of Rome told the young people: "The message is this: Do not follow the way of pride but the way of humility.

"Go against the current: Do not listen to the interesting and seductive voices that today from many parts propose as models lives of arrogance and violence, of despotism and success at all costs, of appearances and having, of harm to being."

Media influence

Speaking of the enormous influence that media desire to have on young people, he told them: "Do not follow the current produced by this powerful attempt at persuasion.

"Do not be afraid, dear friends, to prefer the 'alternative' ways indicated by true love: a sober way of life attentive to others; affectionate relationships that are sincere and pure; an honest commitment in study and work; deep interest in the common good.”

The Pope encouraged them to not be afraid "to appear different and be criticized for that which might seem foolish or unfashionable."

"Your fellow young people, but also adults and especially those who seem the farthest from the mentality and values of the Gospel, have a profound need to see someone who dares to live according to the fullness of humanity manifested in Jesus Christ," he said.

"The way of humility, dear friends, is therefore not the way of renunciation but of courage,” Benedict XVI emphasized. "It is not the result of a defeat but the outcome of a victory of love over egoism and of grace over sin."