Pope Francis held his weekly General Audience on Wednesday, during which he continued his catechetical series on the family, concluding his reflections on the role of children in family life. Below, please find the English summary of the Holy Father’s prepared remarks.
Dear Brothers and Sisters: Today we continue our reflection on children, the greatest blessing which God has bestowed on man and woman. I wish to focus our attention on the suffering which many children are experiencing. From the first moments of their lives, some are rejected, abandoned, and robbed of their infancy and future. There are those who say it is a mistake to bring these children into the world, due to their fragility, and the hunger and poverty they suffer. But children are never a mistake, and their sufferings are only reasons for us to love them even more.
Every child who begs on the streets, who is denied an education or medical care, is a cry to God. Too often, these children become prey to criminals, who exploit them for commerce or violence. Even in wealthy countries, they suffer due to family crises and living conditions which are at times inhumane. In every case, their childhood is violated in body and soul. How did Jesus respond to the children and their parents who brought them to him: “Let the children come to me… for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 19:14). How beautiful the trust of these parents, and the response of Jesus! And there are many extraordinary parents who daily make sacrifices for their children.
The Church offers her maternal care to all children and their families, and she brings them the blessing of Jesus. May we always care for our children, not counting the cost, so that they may never believe themselves to be mistakes, but always know their infinite worth.
I offer an affectionate greeting to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Audience, including those from England, Ireland, Sweden, Nigeria, Japan, Thailand, Canada and the United States. May the Risen Lord confirm you in faith and make you witnesses of his love and mercy to all people. May God bless you!
Life is a precious gift, but we realize this only when we give it to others.