VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The growing gap between those who can find a place in today’s rapidly changing tech-based job market and those who cannot is very serious and worrying, Pope Francis said.

The problem must be tackled “out of a sense of justice between generations and responsibility for the future,” he said.

The pope spoke May 20 at the Vatican to participants in an international conference sponsored by the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation, which seeks to promote the teaching of St. John Paul II’s 1991 encyclical on social and economic justice.


The conference May 18-20 discussed “constructive alternatives in an era of global turmoil” as well as looked at incentives for “job creation and human integrity in the digital space.”

“How could we not be worried about the serious problem of the unemployment of young people and adults who do not have at their disposal the means to ‘promote’ themselves? And this has reached a very serious level” of “tragic proportions,” both in developed and developing nations, the pope said.

“Efforts to face together issues connected to the growth of new technologies, the transformation of markets and the legitimate aspirations of workers must take into consideration not just individuals but also families,” he said.

As the recent assemblies of the Synod of Bishops discussed, job insecurity often ends up putting great pressure on families and exacerbates their problems, he said.

He asked that authentic human development be the focus in crafting alternatives, so that the poor and those in need can be part of a joint effort that pools resources and connects people.

He encouraged his audience in their efforts to bring “the light of the Gospel and the richness of the church’s social doctrine to these pressing questions, contributing to an informed debate, dialogue and research.”

He also called on them to commit themselves to promoting a change in “behavior, opinions and lifestyle that is essential for building a world that is more just, free and in harmony.”