En route to Brazil for World Youth Day, Pope Francis spoke of the dignity and rights of young people, but also of the dignity of the elderly.
Vatican Radio reported about the brief conversation the Holy Father had with some 70 journalists on board the plane. He broke with the tradition of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and did not have an in-flight question-and-answer press conference.
“This first [international] trip of mine is to meet young people, (to see them) … not as isolated young people but immersed in their social context, in society. Because when we isolate young people, we do them an injustice: we take away their ‘belonging,'” he said, as reported by Vatican Radio.
The Holy Father said young people and their energy are the future, but he also noted, “The future is also the elderly because they are the custodians of the ‘wisdom of life,’ the history, the home and the family.”
Francis mentioned the economic crisis and the problem of youth without work.
“Young people today are in crisis,” he said, “and we are used to this disposable culture: it happens all too often to the elderly.”
He called for a “culture of inclusion, a culture of encounter,” asking the journalists to help him in this endeavor.