Pope Francis is urging fathers to be more involved in the lives of their children, warning that many problems adolescents run into can be traced to "absentee fathers" who are physically at home but don't take time to actually be with their kids.

Francis has frequently praised the role mothers play in families, but turned his attention Wednesday to the critical role of fathers. He warned that the absence of a paternal figure for young people can render them essentially "orphans at home."

He said: "Deviant behavior in adolescents can in good part be traced to the lack of an authoritative example and guide in their everyday lives."

Francis acknowledged that his words were "tough" and promised during next week's catechism lesson to speak about "the beauty of fatherhood."