ZENIT: Would you say that the main issue for your young people is that they cannot be themselves?

Some of the problems involve this ‘drifting’ way of life, lack of dreams, and this attempt to ‘escape’, if you will, especially through alcohol or chemical dependency. It is very sad for someone who has a friend suffering in that way; his heart goes out to that friend. Perhaps young people then contemplate whether they did enough for that suffering friend.  The young people in Rome [at the Synod of Bishops], or those who go out to the Asian Youth Congress, do not fall into this category. I would say 98% are dynamic and joyful living their faith as a foundation. They are simply like that. They inspire and encourage one another and build communities, friendships, with one another, not only among Catholics, but also among classmates in universities, whether they are Muslims and Christians, or members of other faiths.

ZENIT: As you know in February, there is going to be a Summit in the Vatican on the theme ‘Protection of Minors.’ Despite the negative press and lack of trust that could dissuade young people from being involved in the Church at this time, what would you tell them, in terms of why it is worth it to still be a person of faith and not lose hope?

I would tell them that even among the Apostles, there were two disciples who fell. One recovered. The other betrayed and rejected Christ completely. Like the Apostolic College, so is the Church, the Church that Christ loves.  So if young people see scandals in the Church regarding abuses toward minors and children, they should not forget that the great majority of the priests in the world are not like that.  This is part of the imperfections of an imperfect Church. It is this imperfect Church that Christ loves.

ZENIT: Is there something in February that you would like to see happen, in terms some sort of system, some sort of measure, in order for it to be effective?

The dioceses in the world are completing or doing protocols of ethics on the conduct of priests. It is essential that boundaries are respected and that they do not take advantage of their priestly calling. It is is a position of authority; they should not take advantage of that. There are protocols that are already approved by episcopal conferences. That is true of the Philippines. Others are in the process of being approved. These measures are necessary responses to everything that has scandalized people, young people and those who hope something will be done to end the abuses. Screenings and priestly education and formation are key. And when a priest falls, legal proceedings within the Church should be used. The convergence of the legal procedures of the Church and those of civil courts is necessary too for effectiveness. Both are important.

ZENIT: Would you say the zero-tolerance for priests, regarding sexual abuse, that is already Church policy, must apply to bishops?

Zero tolerance… One strike–you are out.