[Pope Francis exchanged gifts with Polish President Andrzej Duda and his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda (in scarf) during a private audience at the Vatican Monday, Nov. 9. (Ettore Ferrari/Pool Photo via AP)]
Warsaw: Pope Francis in Poland's Krakow on Saturday evoked the image of alienated youths that spend the day slouching on a sofa, in a speech aimed at rousing them to get up, get moving and make this a better world.
That was his message to young people during Saturday's prayer vigil at the 31st World Youth Day being held in this Polish city and attended by some 1.6 million young people, according to the organisers.
During the event, a Syrian girl from Aleppo tearfully told what it is like to live in a war zone, Efe news reported.
Her touching testimony prompted the pontiff to tell young people that some situations can seem very "far away" and unreal just because they are only seen "on the screen of a cell phone or a computer".
"But when we make contact with life itself, with these real lives that aren't just media stories on small screens, then we're getting somewhere and we feel invited to get involved," Efe news quoted him as saying.
He warned youths that the solution to these conflicts "is not conquering hate with more hate, conquering violence with more violence, conquering terror with more terror", but rather the "response to this world at war has a name: It's called fraternity, it's called brotherhood, it's called communion".
Pope Francis sought to shake up young people caught in "the paralysis" of society and all those who think "happiness is a sofa".
"We didn't come into this world to vegetate," he said, adding that "we have to change the sofa for a good pair of shoes to walk along roads never dreamed of and even less thought about, along roads that open new horizons."