Society can be judged by the way it treats its children says Pope
Pope Francis said Wednesday that children are a joy-filled gift for the Church and the world, and cautioned against an overcast society that lacks life because it has rejected and run out of children. “Children give life, joy and hope. They also give worries and sometimes problems, but this is better than a society that is sad and cray because it has run out of children. Or doesn't want children,” the Pope told pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his March 18 general audience.
Pope Francis said that children are a great gift for humanity and for the Church. Recalling the many happy children he met during his recent journey to Asia brimming with life and enthusiasm, he said that on the other hand he thinks of the countless children throughout our world who are living in poverty and need. “A society can be judged by the way it treats its children” he said.
The Pope also said that children remind us that from our earliest years we are dependent on others. We see this in Jesus himself, who was born a child in Bethlehem. This – he said – is a precious reminder of the fact the necessary condition to enter the reign of God is to never consider ourselves self-sufficient, but in need of help, love and forgiveness.
He said that children also remind us that we are always sons and daughters. This identity – he said – reminds us that we have been given the gift of life, that we never cease to be radically dependent. And speaking of the many gifts that children bring to humanity, Francis said they challenge us to see things with a simple, pure and trusting heart.
They have the capacity to receive and to offer warmth and “tenderness”, to laugh and cry freely in response to the world around us. He pointed to a child’s spontaneous trust in his mother and father, in God, Jesus and in Our Lady and said Jesus urges us to become like children, since God’s Kingdom belongs to such as these.
Pope Francis concluded inviting all to “welcome and treasure our children, who bring so much life, joy and hope to the world”. After finishing his speech Pope Francis offered personal greetings to groups of pilgrims present from various countries around the world, including Great Britain, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Philippines, Canada, the United States of America, Spain, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Argentina.
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