From the flight to Rio, via CNS:
With economic hard times as an excuse not to hire young people, the world risks tossing them aside and endangers its own future, Pope Francis said.
Speaking to reporters aboard the papal flight to Rio de Janeiro July 22, the pope declined to answer their questions, but instead made very brief remarks about his July 22-29 trip and then greeted each of the 71 media members.
A Mexican veteran of papal trips, speaking on behalf of the journalists, welcomed the pope to the back of the plane on his first foreign trip, acknowledging the pope’s reputation for keeping reporters at a distance.
Pope Francis said it was strange to hear her interpretation that reporters “aren’t the saints I’m most devoted to” and that by entering the media section of the plane he was entering “the lion’s den.”
“It’s true I don’t give interviews. I don’t know why. I just can’t. It’s tiresome,” he said. “But I enjoy your company.”
Turning to World Youth Day, the purpose of his trip, Pope Francis said he did not want the event to be a meeting with young people “in isolation,” because “when we isolate them we do them an injustice. They belong to a family, a country, a culture and faith.”
While it is true that young people are the future, he said, they are not the only keys to a healthy future for a society, nation or the world.
The young “are the future because they are strong,” the 76-year-old pope said, but the aged are essential too, “because they have the wisdom of life.”