Message Isn't About Sentimentalism, Says Vatican Official

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 29, 2004 ( John Paul II’s new Lenten message, which invites Christians “to become like children,” must not be reduced to mere sentimentalism, a Vatican official says.

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When presenting the Lenten message to the press today, Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum,” told journalists that “to become like children” does not mean “adherence to a vague and widespread sensibility that presupposes innocent candor in children.”

“Jesus never spoke about children’s innocence,” Archbishop Cordes said. “He emphasized their confident expectation of the good.”

The papal message reminds humanity about children’s sufferings and denounces the abuses they suffer.

In his brief Lenten message, the Holy Father presents children as “a particularly appropriate model for our way of being Christians,” Archbishop Cordes said.

“The Pope doesn’t indicate it because he wishes to foment an innocent sentimentalism, but to characterize our attitude before God,” said the president of the Vatican dicastery that coordinates Catholic charitable institutions worldwide.

Archbishop Cordes said that to “treat children with indifference or to reject them is to avoid the Lord, because he is in them and waits for us.”

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