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Prof. Rocco Buttiglione: We must try to love young people like Pope John Paul II

FNS / TZ / 23.10.2023

Who was man for John Paul II? What was the meaning of culture and how important was the example of his suffering? These were some of the subjects addressed by the participants of the conference “The Pope to the World – the 45th anniversary of John Paul II’s pontificate.” The event was held by the Museum of John Paul II and Primate Wyszyński (Mt 5:14) to mark the 45th anniversary of the Polish Pope’s pontificate.

One of the keynote speakers was Italian philosopher Professor Rocco Buttiglione, a friend and collaborator of John Paul II. In an interview with Vatican Radio, he answered the question of how to bring the Pope’s teaching closer to young people, for whom he is often only a historical figure, and how to teach the young to listen to the saint’s preaching. “We must try to love young people like he did” – replied professor Buttiglione.

“I was his friend, I talked with him, worked with him, ate with him, and sang with him. The moment I saw him the first time keeps recurring in my dreams. I was a young boy in a crowd; he passed by and shook my hand, and looked me in the eye, and I had a distinct impression that this is a man who would give up his life for you, if need be. Other people said the same” – he observed.

The professor adds that today the problem young people face is that no one loves them: “Families are often destroyed and young people find it hard to build a true first love, which John Paul II analysed so well in his texts.” Therefore, as Buttiglione indicated, we must follow the pope’s teaching.

“We worry about so many things yet what is the most important is to help young people to seriously accept their vocation to being men and women” – stressed Rocco Buttiglione.

“Today’s society tells you that love does not exist, that sex is real and whoever loves more will suffer more, so as they encounter the first difficulty, young people tend to break up with each other” – he added. This is why, he stressed, there is a need for good teaching and good companionship for the young. This is what John Paul II conveyed. “Wojtyła was a deeply human person because he participated in people’s lives and brought them great hope. He loved me much more than I loved myself; that’s what he was for everyone, not only the young but also the elderly”– said professor Buttiglione.

“The grace of God enables us to see others with the same eyes that God sees them” – concluded Buttiglione, indicating the paragon of life of John Paul II.