Pope Francis today concluded his reflections on children within the catechesis series on the family he has been giving at the Wednesday general audiences. He spoke out against the suffering of children, and said it is "disgraceful" to ever claim it was an error that a child came into the world.

"So many children are rejected from the beginning, abandoned, robbed of their childhood and their future," he said. "Some might dare to say, almost to justify themselves, that it was an error to make them come into the world. This is disgraceful! Please, let’s not unload our faults on children! Children are never 'an error.'"

He went on to say that children are punished for the errors of adults and that when they are poor, fragile or abandoned, there is greater cause to love them.

"Every marginalized, abandoned child who lives on the street begging and with all sorts of devices, without school, without medical care, is a cry that goes up to God and that accuses the system that we adults have built," he said.

Every world

Pope Francis lamented the situations of children who are exploited for human trafficking or trained for war. He also said that in the developed world, the crisis of the family and voids in education mean children "live dramas" that mark them.

"In every case they are children violated in body and soul. However, the Father who is in heaven does not forget a single one of these children! Not one of their tears is lost! Nor is our responsibility lost either, the social responsibility of persons, of each one of us, and of countries," he warned.

The Pope recalled the account from the Gospel when Jesus blessed the children brought to him, despite the apostles' discouraging him. 

"How I would like this page to become the normal story of all children!" he said.

The Pontiff also called for support for parents of children with serious difficulties, recognizing that these youth "very often have extraordinary parents, ready for any sacrifice and every generosity," but that they still need "moments of shared joy and carefree happiness."

Pope Francis said popular justifications for harming children -- such as, "in privacy, each one is free to do what he wishes” or “we don’t like it, we can’t do anything" -- are not acceptable.

He suggested: "Think what a society would be like that decided once and for all to establish this principle: 'It’s true that we aren’t perfect and that we make many mistakes. However, when it is a question of children who come into the world, no sacrifice of the adults is deemed too costly or to great, in order to avoid a child thinking that he is a mistake, that he had no value and that he is abandoned to the wounds of life and to the arrogance of men.'” How beautiful such a society would be! I say that much would be forgiven such a society, its innumerable errors -- much, truly."

Finally, referring to the statement from Matthew's Gospel that the angels of children “always behold the face of the Father," the Pope asked, "What will the children's angels tell God about us?"


On ZENIT's Web page:

Full text: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/general-audience-on-the-passion-suffered-by-children