Pope John Paul II
March 7, 1981
What are the characteristics of youth today? It is not difficult for you who are young and always live in the midst of the young to note the spiritual aspects that characterize it:
—it is a critical youth which, having considerably increased its cultural assets, is logically led to think more, to reflect, to judge;
—it is a demanding youth which, though it may sometimes exaggerate and succumb to personal selfishness, wants and claims honesty, truthfulness, justice and consistency;
—it is a youth that suffers from the contradictory nature of the ideologies that impinge upon it, and from the continual emptying of ideals which it witnesses;
—it is a questioning youth which wants to account for what is happening, which looks for the meaning of its own life and the significance of the history of man and of the whole universe, which invokes certainty and clarity on its own destiny and with regard to its own conduct;
—it is a youth anxious for truth, ideals for which to live, responsibility, moral beauty, innocence and joy.
Well, beloved young people, it is the youth of this generation that you must approach, get to know, love and enlighten; it is with this youth that you must continue along the way of the search for truth! Clearly and confidently!
In whatever environment you find yourselves, always advocate in the first place the validity of the search for truth, in order to combat that sense of scepticism and absolute incertitude, which eliminates all desire for investigation, and which may easily penetrate into the youthful spirit. In the second place, make sure of the serious nature of the search, in order never to cast doubt on the fundamental truths concerning rational certainty about God, the message of Christ and the authentic teaching of the Church. And finally, bear witness to the efficacy of the search for salvific truth with Christian joy, living the Beatitudes and sustaining spiritual life with the Eucharist and prayer.
To the young who ask themselves with anguish and distress: “What is truth? Does truth exist?” you will reply with courageous conviction: “Of course! Christ is the truth and only he has words of eternal life!” To the young who are thirsty for joy, beauty and love, you will reply with St. Augustine: “Only truth brings happiness.” “Happiness is to enjoy truth. This is, therefore, joy of Thee, who are Truth, O God, my light, my salvation, O my God. This is the happiness for which everyone longs, and this is the only happy life that everyone wants, this is the joy that everyone desires: the joy of truth” (Confessions).