Pope Urges Support for Families as a Hedge Against Pedophilia

Emphasizes Important Role of Educators

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 1, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II condemned all forms of abuse against children and adolescents, particularly sexual abuse, and appealed for a determined response especially by supporting families.

The Pope addressed the problem of pedophilia when he received the letters of credence of the new Belgian ambassador, Benoît Cardon De Lichtbuer. Scandals involving pedophilia have shaken Belgium in recent years.

«The present time has shown too often in a tragic manner the need of our developed societies to protect children and to ensure that education is really at the service of the integral development of their persons, both in families as well as in schools,» the Holy Father said Thursday.

«It is important to condemn, with the greatest vigor, sexual abuses with regard to young people,» the Pope insisted.

«Audacious policies to support families must be pursued in order to help them in their educational task, especially in support of the institution of marriage,» he added. «As a fundamental bond between a man and a woman, marriage allows the family to be a stable and well-balanced place for children to grow.»

«At the same time, it is necessary to recall and honor the responsibility of educators, recognizing the difficult work they assume on behalf of the whole of society, in the human, moral and spiritual formation of the citizens of tomorrow,» John Paul II stressed.

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