2013-11-22 Vatican - Celebrating the social teaching of the Church: that’s the focus of a video message sent by Pope Francis to a four day meeting taking place in Verona, Italy, this week on the theme ‘Less inequality, more difference’.

In the message to participants at the 3rd Festival of Catholic Social Doctrine, the Pope reiterates his belief that young people and the elderly are central to the wellbeing of society – even if they are not contributing directly to its economic growth. Noting that in some countries youth unemployment has risen to over 40% of the population, the Holy Father says that the future of society is in jeopardy if we do not find ways of valuing the energy of young people and the wisdom of the elderly.

Solidarity with the unemployed, the weak, the fragile, the Pope goes on, has become a virtual swear word in our profit-oriented environment. Yet this solidarity, he says, is central to the social teaching of the Church which contains within it an almost mystical vision of justice, equality and long-term development for allFinally Pope Francis recalls how, as a young man in the early 1950s, he heard his own father speaking about Christian cooperatives that offer a slower but more just model of economic development. That model, which draws on Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum he says, can continue to inspire concrete actions and solutions to the economic and social problems we’re facing today.