From the Editor
At a gathering of young people in Turin on 21 June 2015 a young woman named Chiara asked Pope Francis, Often we feel disappointed in love. What does the greatness of Jesus’ love consist in? How can we experience his love?’ He answered, And now, I know that you are good and will permit me to speak sincerely. I don’t want to be a moralist but I would like to say a word that isn’t liked, an unpopular word. Sometimes the Pope must also take risks to speak the truth. Love is in works, in communicating, but love is very respectful of people, it does not use people, that is, love is chaste. And to you young people in this world, in this hedonistic world, in this world where only pleasure, having a good time, and living the good life get publicity, I say to you: be chaste, be chaste.
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati mountain climbing
Pope Francis, as Pope Benedict had done in speaking to young people in Turin on 2 May 2010, quoted the motto of one of the city’s greatest sons, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (1901 – 1925): Live, don’t just get by! He came from a wealthy family. But unknown to his parents, he had lived an intense life of prayer and service to the poor of Turin alongside an active social life. He died suddenly from polio, which he had probably contracted from one of the poor whom he used to visit.
Blessed Laura Vicuña aged 10 [Wikipedia]
On 22 January Salesians celebrate the feast of Blessed Laura Vicuña, who was born in Santiago, Chile, on 5 April 1891 and died on 22 January 1904 in Argentina. We published her story in our January-February 2008 issue, A Poem of Purity: Blessed Laura Vicuña. Laura died of injuries caused by a brutal attack on her by the man her mother Mercedes was living with at the time when she repulsed his attempt to rape her.
Before she died Laura told her mother that she had offered her life to God for her conversion. Mercedes left the man and received God’s pardon in confession and started a new life.
Blessed Chiara Luce Badano [Wikipedia]
In September-October 2010 we told the story of The Saint Who Failed Math, Blessed Chiara Luce Badano (1971 – 1990).
Philippine stamp to mark canonization of San Pedro Calungsod [Wikipedia]
In October 2012 Pope Benedict canonized San Pedro Calungsod (1654 -1672), a Filipino catechist, missionary and martyr.
The Church honors these young persons in order to encourage all young people to become saints, something we are called to by baptism. Pope Francis was showing the deepest respect to the young people assembled in Piazza Vittorio that day in Turin by challenging them to be chaste and to Live, don’t just get by!
Jesus asked the people one day, What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? (Luke 11:11-12)
The Department of Education and the Department of Health in the Philippines are planning to give ‘snakes’ instead of ‘fish’, ‘scorpions’ instead of ‘eggs’ in public high schools in school year 2017-2018. Teachers will be asked to give out condoms so that minors can avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases by engaging in ‘safe sex’. Instead of calling our young people to a life of integrity, honesty and respect for self and others, respect for the beautiful gift of our sexuality through which we share in the loving creative work of God and to be expressed only within sacred marriage between man and woman, our ‘educators’ will be giving our young people the untruthful message, ‘Just don’t get caught’, the falsity that is the root of so much corruption in the Philippines.
For the authorities in the Philippines, young people are not worthy of respect.
Blessed Laura Vicuña (12), Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (24), Blessed Chiara Luce Badano (18) and San Pedro Calungsod (17) might think otherwise.