Pope Francis has criticized Europe for a declining birthrate, a high percentage of unemployed people and discarding the elderly. He called Europe “tired,” saying it risks becoming a “throw-away culture.”
“Europe is tired. We have to help rejuvenate it, to find its roots. It’s true: it has disowned its roots. But we need to help it find them,” Francis said during his visit to the Community of Sant'Egidio in Rome’s Santa Maria in Trastevere Basilica. The community’s volunteers provide various forms of help to homeless, immigrants, elderly, disabled, and young people.
According to Francis, the treatment of the elderly and children “is an indicator showing the quality of a society. “
“When the elderly are discarded, when the elderly are isolated and sometimes closed off without affection, it’s a bad sign!” said the Pope.
Francis said that the youth and the elderly “carry history forward,” as young people give the society “biological strength" while old people “give them their memory.”
“When a society loses memory, it’s over. It’s terrible to see a society, a people, a culture that has lost memory,” he said, “A people that does not safeguard its elderly, that does not take care of its young people, is a people without a future, a people without hope.”
Francis warned that with the current situation the European society may easily become a “throw-away culture.”
“Children are thrown away: no children. Just think of the growth rate of children in Europe: in Italy, Spain, France. The elderly are thrown away with these attitudes, behind which is a hidden euthanasia, a form of euthanasia: uselessness. That which isn’t useful is thrown away,” said Francis.
The Pope also spoke about high rates of unemployment in Europe which affect young people in the union.
“And today the crisis is so great that young people are discarded: when we think of these 75 million young people of 25 years or younger, who are ‘neither-nor’ - neither working, nor studying. It happens today, in this tired Europe, eh?” he said.
The Pope also slammed “the idol of money” in the region’s economy, which makes the poor “more and more poor, depriving them of the essentials, such as home and work.”
Pope Francis has already carved himself a reputation of being unlike previous popes. He called for the legitimate redistribution of the world’s wealth in order to help the poor. Francis also attacked the global economic system, which shouldn’t be based on “a god called money” anymore.