The Holy Father expressed his concern for “excessive economic liberalism and how it has instilled a culture of exclusion,” according to AICA.
“In some countries there exists a hidden euthanasia,” he said, with medical coverage being offered only up to a certain age, after which the elderly are left to fend for themselves.
The Pope’s comments came during a March 19 meeting with two dozen Argentineans, including union leaders, teachers and journalists. He clarified that he was speaking only for himself and simply intended to provide some tools his guests could use to develop a plan of action.
In his address, he lamented that children are considered “throw-away material” in a culture of widespread contraception.
“Children are returned to sender so that they aren't born,” he said. “And young people are excluded from the system. These young people are candidates for bitterness and suicide!”
“We need to learn how to re-read this,” the Pope told those gathered. He cautioned against systems that exclude people considered “useless,” often children and the elderly.
“We are sacrificing the two extremes, which are the strength of a people!” he said.
The Holy Father also spoke about education and sports as ways of including young people and helping them to grow.
“Education and sports. Sports are healthy and they should be played anywhere, in the corner of the home or out on the field,” he commented.
“I remember I spent my first five years of elementary at a public school, where the teachers and the parents dialogued, and the children were cared for at school and at home. What I am saying isn't nostalgia but values that were expressed in that way. Sports teaches you generosity, honesty, to not lie and to not cheat. I can't imagine education without sports.”
“The educational path is the only one that can keep young people from the disaster of drug addiction,” he added.
Later, addressing union leaders, the Holy Father said he was concerned about the trend of not showing up for work or school.
“Today it is very common from people to not show up or to arrive late. As if work was important for making a living but that's it,” he said.
“There are young people who don't see their parents work. There has been loss of awareness of the culture of work.”
Efforts to fight a “throw-away culture of exclusion” should include openness to the lives of the young and elderly, as well as education and even sports, Pope Francis has said.