Young people at youth synod © Stefano dal Pozzolo (CBA)
Church and youth – this is what the participants of the Youth Synod in Rome are debating. Evangelical Christian Julia Brabant is among them. The 25-year-old hopes that young people will really be taken seriously and have a say in the process.
Interviewer: So how does an evangelical Christian end up consulting with the pope and bishops?
Julia Brabant (auditor at the Youth Synod): I am on the Council of the Lutheran World Federation. When the invitation came to the Secretary General, I was asked if I could participate and then – after postponing all sorts of things – I said "yes".
Interviewer: On many ies, the positions of the Protestant and Catholic churches differ widely: celibacy, the role of women, homosexuality. What is your opinion of the Catholic Church and its positions??
Brabant: Some opinions are quite hard to take, even in the plenary session we just experienced. But it is about the topic of youth, and I think that is something that connects us in the youth associations and in the Protestant Church and where we can say a lot together.
Interviewer: You sit in on the meetings as an auditor, both in plenary and in small groups. How does this work?
Brabant: There is the "Instrumentum laboris", the working basis for the synod. There is always a part presented first and then discussed in small groups, sorted by language. In total, there were 14 small groups that wrote down and presented their suggestions for change. Nearly every language group had ten minutes to make a statement on this first topic, "Perceiving Youth".
Interviewer: Pope Francis to attend youth synod. If you could say one sentence to him, which is not impossible, what would it be??
Brabant: This is a good question. I don't really want to give this away because it's still in my speech. But it's definitely a phrase from one of his predecessors.
Interviewer: And which speech did you just allude to?
Brabant: I may speak as an ecumenical guest for four minutes before the entire Synod, which will be on Thursday.
Interviewer: What will the content of your speech be about??
Brabant: In any case, the topic will be youth participation – not only the perception, but also the taking seriously of young people and the understanding that youth is not the future, but also the present and wants to have a say in the "here and now.
Interviewer: In the end, what do you hope for from the Catholic Church and the synod?
Brabant: I hope that not only an empty paper will be adopted, but that it will really be acted upon. I can only hope that the youth – the few who are here and really very committed – are really taken seriously and given a say.
The interview was conducted by Moritz Dege.