Pope sympathises with Spain's jobless

Pope Francis expressed sympathy with Spain's jobless in an audience this morning with the country's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

The Vatican said in a statement that the "cordial" talks allowed an exchange of views on the "difficult" economic situation in Spain.

The discussions touched on the job crisis affecting many families and especially the young.

"In such a context, the Church's nearness was expressed and the noteworthy work for those most in need that Caritas and other ecclesial charitable associations carries out was noted," the Vatican said in a statement following the meeting.

"Reference was also made to the country's current political-institutional structure, noting the need for dialogue in society and among all its components, dialogue that is based on mutual respect and keeping in mind values such as justice and solidarity, in seeking the common good."

The meeting came in the midst of mass protests by Spanish youths angry over the high unemployment, which has caused thousands to leave the country in search of work.

Unemployment stands at a staggering 55 per cent among 16 to 24-year-olds and a record 26 per cent overall.