Pope Francis spent his last hours of 2016 in St. Peter's Square where he called on followers to help the youth find purpose in the new year.
The pope used the evening prayers to bring attention to youth, noting that while culture "idolizes youth" it has made no place for the young, according to The Associated Press.
“We have created a culture that idolizes youth and seeks to make it eternal. Yet at the same time, paradoxically, we have condemned our young people to have no place in society,” he said. Francis said that young people have been "slowly pushed ... to the margins of public life, forcing them to migrate or to beg for jobs that no longer exist or fail to promise them a future.”
The pontiff said the world owed young people "a debt" as they've been deprived of "dignified and genuine work." Instead of promoting genuine, dignified work allowing youth to actively participate in society, society has demanded that they be “a leaven for the future," he said.
At the same time, Francis argued, society has pushed to "discriminate against them and condemn them to knock on doors that for the most part remain closed.”
Francis urged followers to not be like the innkeeper who refused a room to Mary and Joseph, but to help youth and provide opportunities. To help the youth, Francis said, society should push for "true inclusion" that "provides work that is worthy, free, creative, participatory and solidary."