According to Catholic News Agency, Pope Francis said on Monday that part of his World Youth Day mission was to help counter a “throwaway culture” that threatens to isolate young people from “a family, a country, a culture, a faith.”
The pope is in Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day 2013, which is drawing about 1.5 million young people from around the world to Brazil’s second largest city.
Moneynews reports that on board his plane to Rio de Janeiro, the pope spoke to journalists about his concern that the world will lose a generation of young people to unemployment.
“The world crisis is not treating young people well… We are running the risk of having a generation that does not work,” Pope Francis said. “From work comes a person’s dignity.”
In addition, the pope expressed concern about the elderly, and his view that a “throwaway culture” is abandoning them. Francis said that the elderly “never stopped giving, they have the wisdom, the wisdom of life, the wisdom of history, wisdom of the country, the wisdom of the family, and this we need.”
In an email statement to Breitbart News, Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor-at-large at National Review Online, and a director at Catholic Voices USA, commented on the pope’s words:
You heard in the pope’s words an ache for young people, especially, who perhaps have never had a job. He grieves for and with them, challenging us to do better by them, as families, and friends, Churches, communities and yes, just governments and ethical businessmen. They, like the elderly, are served an injustice, as the utilitarian strains in our culture consider them disposable, as he put it, cast them to the sidelines, deny them a knowledge of their human dignity.
Lopez talked about how the same technology that supposedly keeps people connected, also can keep them isolated from one another.
“We see it in just about any elevator ride in America, don’t we?” asks Lopez.
Believing the pope is calling young people to be connected, Lopez states, “Young people belong to a faith, that respects the wisdom of our fathers, that loves each woman and man, royal baby or not, job or not, disability or Iron Dog win.”
When he landed in Rio, he made a plea for hearts to be open to Christ, to consider what Christianity proposes. It’s a truth about our lives and its purpose that provides hope and a peace this world cannot know on its own. And the young people gathered to glorify God and be nourished in their faith will be the leaders in this renewal.
Daniela Adames is a native New Yorker and assistant coordinator for Spanish Programs in the Archdiocesan Family Life/Respect Life office. A theology student at Fordham University, Adames is in Rio with Catholic Voices USA for World Youth Day 2013.
Adames told Breitbart News she is glad Pope Francis made specific mention of unemployment among young people.
“It really hit home in the U.S.,” she said. “There is indeed dignity in working — in being productive and contributing to society in one way or the other.”
“Two things in particular that stood out for me were his [Pope Francis’] mention of ‘losing our youth to unemployment’ and the ‘culture of rejection,'” she observed. “The former, serves to point out that, in many cases, unemployment leads the youth to search for other means of income — namely, to the selling of illegal drugs, violence, and all sorts of criminal behavior — essentially, a life of sin. Souls are being lost.”
“The latter, the ‘culture of rejection,’ truly does take a toll on the youth,” Adames added. “In a society where you are worth as much as you make, unemployment undeniably harms a person’s self-esteem. And we know that a lack of love for the self inevitably leads to a lack of love and respect for the other, causing a cycle of hate and ‘rejection.'”
Adames said that Christians believe their true worth comes from God, and that dignity is inherent to our being, whether we are employed or not.
“Pope Francis reminds us that having Jesus is the ‘most precious gift’ and this gives youth (and the world) a new hope and strength to face the challenge of unemployment,” she said.