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Pope, Panama bishops discuss World Youth Day, gender theory


  • Archbishop Jose Domingo Ulloa Mendieta of Panama leads dignitaries and journalists in a moment of silent prayer June 8 for the One Minute for Peace initiative at a press briefing. The briefing followed the "ad limina" meeting at the Vatican between Pope Francis and the Panamanian bishops. (CNS photo/Junno Arocho Esteves)
  • Panamanian flags are seen after Pope Francis celebrated the World Youth Day closing Mass in 2016 at the Field of Mercy in Krakow, Poland. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
  • Archbishop Jose Domingo Ulloa Mendieta of Panama leads dignitaries and journalists in a moment of silent prayer June 8 for the One Minute for Peace initiative at a press briefing. The briefing followed the "ad limina" meeting at the Vatican between Pope Francis and the Panamanian bishops. (CNS photo/Junno Arocho Esteves)
  • Cardinal Jose Lacunza Maestrojuan of David, Panama, listens as Archbishop Jose Domingo Ulloa Mendieta of Panama briefs journalists June 8 following the "ad limina" meeting at the Vatican between Pope Francis and the Pnamanian bishops. (CNS photo/Junno Arocho Esteves)

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Preparations for World Youth Day 2018 and the dangers of gender theory on marriage and the family were among the major themes that bishops from Panama discussed with Pope Francis.

Describing the nearly two-hour meeting June 8 with the pope as a "wonderful visit among brothers," Archbishop Jose Domingo Ulloa Mendieta of Panama told journalists that the pope emphasized the important role that lay people and young men and women have in the church.

Pope Francis "insisted very much that young people are not only the future; they are the present of the church and the present of humanity," Archbishop Ulloa said.

"What a responsibility to be a young person in this time! Young people are the last breath of fresh air that we have so that hope continues to be renewed in us because a different world is possible thanks to young people."

Pope Francis met with the 10 prelates from the Central American nation during the "ad limina" visits that bishops are required to make to the Vatican.

Archbishop Ulloa, who also serves as president of the Panama bishops' conference, said Pope Francis "knows the situation in Panama very well."

"For all the bishops -- especially those who had their first experience of an 'ad limina' visit -- it was a chance to regain strength to continue along the path and the mission that we have in this moment as bishops in each of our dioceses," he said.

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