By Sarah Mac Donald - 24 July, 2013
Pope Francis has warned that the current level of youth unemployment created by the global crisis risks creating a generation who has never had a job.
Speaking to journalists on the flight to Brazil for World Youth Day, the Pontiff commented that “the global crisis does not bring good to the young.”
He described work and earning a living as bringing personal dignity.
“The young, at this time, are in a situation of crisis. We are somewhat accustomed to this culture of rejection: too often we discard the elderly. But now, also with the young unemployed, the culture of rejection reaches them too. We have to eliminate this habit of rejection!” the Pope warned.
He asked the seventy journalists onboard the plane to help him work for the good of society, for both young and old.
On his first international apostolic journey, he expressed his wish to encounter the young and to promote a society able to unite the forces of youth with the experience and wisdom of maturity.
“This first trip is precisely to meet the young, but to find them not isolated from their lives – I would like to find them as part of the social fabric, in society. Because, when we isolate the young, we do a great injustice: we remove their sense of belonging,” he said.
“The young belong – they belong to family, a homeland, a culture, a faith… they belong in this way, and we must not isolate them! But above all, we must not isolate them from the rest of society. They are the future of the people, this is true!”
The Pope then spoke about the lot of the elderly, underlining that a society “has a future if it advances on both sides.”
“I often think we do injustice to the elderly; we cast them aside as if they had nothing to offer us. They have wisdom, the wisdom of life, the wisdom of history, the wisdom of the homeland, the wisdom of the family, and we need all this”, he said.
The Pope was formally welcomed by President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil on arrival late on Monday as well as thousands of pilgrims who lined the streets of Rio to catch a glimpse of the Pontiff in his small open top Fiat car.
Up to 1.5 million young pilgrims are expected to crowd into the Brazilian city to participate in World Youth Day events over the next few day, the highlight of which is Mass celebrated by Pope Francis on Sunday.