In his Christmas message, Pope Francis talked about how materialism has become the norm rather than the exception in the celebration of the Holidays.
But in his New Year’s Eve message, the pontiff has cited the need for the global leaders to act on the growing problem of youth unemployment in the world.
Pope Francis cited, in particular, the youth joblessness in Italy, which now stands at 36% and is actually the highest among the 28 member nations of the European Nation, reports Eyewitness News.
Given that premise, the Vatican high priest has urged global leaders to do more in tackling the problem of unemployment because a generation is apparently being lost to desperation, migration, and joblessness.
The 80-year-old pontiff made his last message for 2016 on December 31 during an evening vespers service in St. Peter’s Basilica.
After the traditional evening prayers inside the basilica, Pope Francis made his way through the crowds towards a life-size Nativity scene, part of the Maltese crib at the Vatican.
He said that doors and opportunities need to be opened for young people of the world so that they can be capable of dreaming and fighting for their dreams, and get an opportunity to turn those dreams into reality.
Pushing the youths to the margins of public life
He said in his homily that by not attending to the problems besetting the youths of today, governments are condemning young people to have no place in society, adding that it is synonymous to pushing them to the margins of public life, forcing them to beg for jobs that no longer exist, or fail to promise them a bright future.
While governments are saying that the youth is the future of their respective countries and are often idolized, most of their actions say otherwise.
The pope said that such inaction is pushing the youth to the edges of public life in desperation, notes Malta Today.
Pope Francis also explained that the world owed young people a debt because they have been deprived of a dignified and genuine work that would allow them to take part in society, instead of condemning them to knock on doors that for the most part remain closed.
Growing youth unemployment in Africa
Incidentally, Africa, which has the world’s youngest population, youth joblessness has increased by an average of 30% last year, based on the data from the International Labor Organization (ILO).
It is obvious that poverty and lack of opportunity in Africa are driving migration, particularly to Europe. Almost 5,000 men, women, and children died attempting to reach Europe by boat from North Africa in 2016.
Among the more than 181,000 boat migrants, mostly Africans, who reached Italy in 2016, 25,000 were unaccompanied minors, double the number who came in 2015.
At the end of the service, Pope Francis walked across St. Peter’s Square, stopping to shake hands and pose for pictures, as he paid a brief visit to the life-size Nativity set up outside.
The following day, the first day of 2017, the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics also offered a Mass to mark the Church’s World Day of Peace.
On Christmas Day, Pope Francis delivered his ‘Urbi et Orbi’ or Christmas message before more than 40,000 people gathered at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.
He offered hope for those scarred by war and harsh conflicts that seem stronger than the yearning for peace.
The pope also touched upon the war in Syria, renewed tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, and those affected by acts of terrorism, particularly in Iraq, Libya, and Yemen.