In recent times, society has experienced an increase in youth crime. This surge in crime amongst young people calls for everyone’s attention and reflection. It is important to note that I believe the solution to this issue is not in reprimanding youth but, rather, lies within the transformation and support of our families.
Pope Francis highlights that the family is the domestic church. In his Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia,” he writes, “The family is a place where the divine and the human are intertwined.” The family, therefore, plays a central role in the moral and spiritual formation of our youth.
There are many causes of youth crime, which include economic instability, educational challenges, peer pressure, and the breakdown of family structures. Again, it is important for us to realize that reprimanding young people alone will not address these underlying issues. Instead, our focus should be on strengthening and supporting our families.
So the question is how do we strengthen and support our families? Well, Pope Francis underlines the importance of education and moral formation in “Amoris Laetitia,” where he says, “Families are the primary educators in the virtues.” He emphasizes that parents have a crucial role in shaping the moral character of their children. Proper education and formation within the family can lead to a more stable and ethical society.
Therefore, the sacrament of marriage is a cornerstone of the family and society. Encouraging and supporting strong, loving marriages can create a stable foundation for children. Providing resources for couples’ counselling and marriage enrichment programs can help.
Furthermore, young people may be facing challenges that we do not understand which is why collaborative mission is a necessity. Collaborating with local community organisations, schools, and government agencies can help create a network of support for families in need. By working together, we can provide a safety net for those struggling with various issues, such as poverty, substance abuse, or mental health concerns.
Pope Francis, in his message for the World Day of Peace 2014, stated, “Solid solidarity is a way of making history, and it is the only viable way of ensuring a future of peace for all.” These words remind us of the importance of solidarity in addressing social issues, including youth crime.
There is no “one size fits all” solution to this issue. So it is important for us to remember that every family has its unique set of challenges, and the road to healing may be different for each one. We should approach this issue with compassion, understanding, and an open heart. Families facing difficulties need our support, not judgment.
In conclusion, the recent rise in youth crime is a concern for all of us, but it also presents an opportunity for our parish to live out the Gospel message of love and compassion. By focusing on the transformation and support of families, we can create a more nurturing environment for our youth, helping them make positive life choices and preventing them from falling into destructive paths. As a community, we have the power to make a difference, one family at a time, through our unwavering love, faith, and support.
As a Eucharistic people we are called to uplift and strengthen one another in this often challenging journey. Through our collective efforts, may we be a beacon of hope and transformation for the families in our community. With God’s grace and our commitment to the well-being of our families, we can make a lasting impact in reducing youth crime and building a brighter future for our youth.
Fr Isaac Falzon