Pope Francis, the first Latin American pope, is travelling to some of the poorest and most violent parts of Mexico on a six-day trip with a message of hope for millions of marginalised people. Speaking during a rally in Michoacan state, which has witnessed violent gang wars, the Pope advised youths to shun the lure of easy money and big cars offered by drug traffickers. Francis also commented on how Mexican authorities have failed to provide opportunities for the young.

"It is hard to feel the wealth of a nation when there are no opportunities for dignified work, no possibilities for study or advancement, when you feel your rights are being trampled on, which then leads you to extreme situations," the Pontiff told the crowds gathered at the Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon stadium.

Pope Francis in Morelia
A girl is overcome with emotion after greeting Pope Francis at the cathedral in Morelia, MexicoTomas Bravo/ Reuters
Pope Francis in Morelia
Pope Francis hugs two girls during a meeting with youths at the Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon stadium in Morelia, MexicoCarlos Garcia Rawlins/ Reuters
Pope Francis in Morelia
A woman reacts as Pope Francis meets with youths at the Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon stadium in Morelia, MexicoMax Rossi/ Reuters
Pope Francis in Morelia
Pope Francis addresses the audience during a meeting with youths at the Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon stadium in Morelia, MexicoCarlos Garcia Rawlins/ Reuters

Arguing Jesus would never ask them to be "hitmen" the Pope, who was visiting Morelia, the capital of Michoacan, Mexico, where gang wars over the methamphetamine trade have torn the state apart with widespread kidnappings and extortion by gangs. The turf wars has also sparked an uprising by vigilante groups who preach to the young not to fall into the easy money-making traps that society has led them to believe was acceptable.

"It is a lie to believe that the only way to live, or to be young, is to entrust oneself to drug dealers or others who do nothing but sow destruction and death," Pope Francis told young people at the rally in Morelia.

Pope Francis in Morelia
A nun participates in a mass by Pope Francis at Venustiano Carranza stadium in Morelia, MexicoMax Rossi/ Reuters
Pope Francis in Morelia
Members of the clergy participate in a Mass by Pope Francis at Venustiano Carranza stadium in Morelia, MexicoHenry Romero/ Reuters
Pope Francis in Morelia
Pope Francis is seen in the midst of flags during a meeting with youths at the Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon stadium in Morelia, MexicoCarlos Garcia Rawlins/ Reuters
Pope Francis in Morelia
Nuns participate in a mass by Pope Francis at Venustiano Carranza stadium in Morelia, MexicoMax Rossi/ Reuters
Pope Francis in Morelia
Members of the clergy participate in a mass by Pope Francis at Venustiano Carranza stadium in Morelia, MexicoHenry Romero/ Reuters
Pope Francis in Morelia
Nuns, members of the clergy, and crowds participate in a mass by Pope Francis at Venustiano Carranza stadium in Morelia, MexicoMax Rossi/ Reuters
Pope Francis in Morelia
Pope Francis celebrates a mass at Venustiano Carranza stadium in Morelia, MexicoMax Rossi/ Reuters
Pope Francis in Morelia
Youths gather during a meeting with Pope Francis at the Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon stadium in Morelia, MexicoCarlos Garcia Rawlins/ Reuters
Pope Francis in Morelia
A man sells key-chains in the likeness of Pope Francis in downtown Morelia, in the Mexican state of MichoacanTomas Bravo/ Reuters
Pope Francis in Morelia
A street vendor sells t-shirts with images of Pope Francis in Morelia, MexicoCarlos Garcia Rawlins/ Reuters
Pope Francis in Morelia
Crowds wait for Pope Francis to drive past in Morelia, MexicoCarlos Garcia Rawlins/ Reuters
Pope Francis in Morelia
Soldiers stand guard on a street as crowds wait for Pope Francis to drive past in Morelia, MexicoAlan Ortega/ Reuters
Pope Francis in Morelia
Crowds wait for Pope Francis to drive past in Morelia, MexicoCarlos Garcia Rawlins/ Reuters
Pope Francis in Morelia
Youths cheer during a meeting with Pope Francis at the Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon stadium in Morelia, MexicoCarlos Garcia Rawlins/ Reuters
Pope Francis in Morelia
Crowds assemble on a road while watching a gathering of youths with Pope Francis (seen on screen) at the Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon stadium in Morelia, MexicoMax Rossi/ Reuters

More than 100,000 people have been killed in Mexico's drug war over the last decade, as rival gangs fight over territory and smuggling routes to the US. This has proved a dilemma for the young people of Mexico, who feel they have no option but to turn to crime in order to make money in order to survive.

Pope Francis in Morelia
Pope Francis celebrates a mass at Venustiano Carranza stadium in Morelia, MexicoMax Rossi/ Reuters
Pope Francis in Morelia
Military and forensic experts inspect the body of a man killed outside a nightclub in the border city of Ciudad Juarez 31 August, 2009Alejandro Bringas/ Reuters
Pope Francis in Morelia
A stuffed bear lies over a child's grave at the infants' section of the San Rafael cemetery in Ciudad Juarez 17 July, 2011Jose Luis Gonzalez/ Reuters
Pope Francis in Morelia
Burnt soil and the remains of wheat seen at the end of harvest on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez in June 2015Jose Luis Gonzalez/ Reuters
Pope Francis in Morelia
A soldier walks past graffiti depicting angel wings by artist Colette Miller in Ciudad JuarezJose Luis Gonzalez/ Reuters
Pope Francis in Morelia
A man carries a photograph of a missing 14-year-old girl on his back while touching a photograph of the same girl glued to the window of an abandoned store in Ciudad Juarez in November 2013Jose Luis Gonzalez/ Reuters
Pope Francis in Morelia
A dog approaches the burnt body of a victim at a crime scene in a poor neighbourhood in Ciudad Juarez on 9 November, 2014. According to local media, the body was later identified as that of a womanJose Luis Gonzalez/ Reuters