Pope at General Audience: 'If Children Are Seen as a Burden, Something Is Wrong'

Reflects on the Role of Children in the Family During General Audience

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Being children is the fundamental condition to know the love of God, who is the source behind the miracle.

During this morning’s weekly General Audience, Pope Francis made this reflection and stressed, “In the soul of every child, God puts a seal of his love, which is the basis of personal dignity, a dignity that nothing and no one can destroy.”

Continuing the catechesis on the family, the Pope reflected on the importance and role of children.

A society that does not like to be surrounded by children and considers them a concern, a weight, or a risk, “is a depressed society,” the Pope said.

“If children are seen as a burden, there is something wrong!” he exclaimed. “When life multiplies, society is enriched, not impoverished.»

The Pontiff stressed that children are a gift of society, never a possession. Reminiscing about his childhood, the Holy Father recalled his mother’s response when asked which of her five children was her favorite: She compared her children to fingers on a hand, stressing that even if they are all part of the person and of the hand, they are different and unique.

The Holy Father reminded the faithful of God’s infinte love, saying that “the beauty of being loved before: before having done anything to deserve it, before they can speak or think, even before coming to the world!” He went on to compare this love to those of pregnant women who ask him for a blessing. This request, he said, shows the love they have for their children even before they are born.

«Children,» he said, «should not be afraid of the commitment to build a new world: is it right for them to want to be better than what they have received!»

“But this must be done without arrogance, without presumption,” he added, underscoring that children must honor and recognize the value of their parents.

This honor for parents, he said, affects every other relationship and ensures a sound future for society as a whole. 

Continuing his catechesis, the 78 year old Pontiff stressed that the fourth commandment calls on children to honor their father and mother.  

“A society of children who do not honor their parents,” he decried, “is a society without honor, destined to be full of barren and greedy young people.”

Today, he added, it seems more difficult for children to imagine their future because some fathers have “perhaps taken a step back” which makes it harder for children to progress.

“We can learn a good relationship between the generations by our Heavenly Father, that gives us freedom but never leaves us alone,» he said.

«If we fail,» Pope Francis concluded, «our Heavenly Father continues to follow us patiently without diminishing his love for us.»

After greeting the faithful, the Holy Father called for prayers for the migrant victims of a shipwreck near the Italian coastal town of Lampedusa. 

He also asked those present to pray for the upcoming Consistory. «I invite you to pray for the Consistory that will take place in the coming days,» he said. «May the Holy Spirit assist the work of the College of Cardinals and illuminate the new Cardinals and their service to the Church.»

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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