Krakow, Poland, Jul 29, 2016 / 12:46 pm
Speaking from the balcony of the bishop's palace in Krakow, Pope Francis told youth gathered below that the horror lived by prisoners in the Auschwitz extermination camp isn’t over, but still continues in those who suffer various forms of cruelty today.
“I don't want to make you bitter, but I have to tell the truth. The cruelty of Auschwitz and Birkenau has not ended. Even today many people are tortured,” the Pope said July 29.
Many prisoners, he said, “are tortured immediately, in order to make them talk. Today there are men and women in overcrowded prisons. They live like animals. This cruelty is there today.”
He spoke at the close of his second full day in Poland, where he is spending July 27-31 for World Youth Day. He’s appearing on the balcony of the archbishop’s palace each night after he returns in order to address the crowd of youth gathered below.
St. John Paul II began the tradition by speaking to youth from the balcony each time he visited his homeland as Pope. It was continued by Benedict XVI when he visited Poland in 2006, and is now Francis is following in the steps of his predecessors.
Earlier in the morning Francis went to the Auschwitz and Birkenau extermination camps, where an estimated 1.5 million people lost their lives during the Nazi occupation. He later stopped by a children’s hospital to visit with the young patients and give them his blessing.
After leaving the hospital, Pope Francis traveled to Krakow’s Blonia Park, where the youth participating in WYD performed a live reenactment of the Stations of the Cross.