On the Sufferings of Children
On April 8, 2015 as part of his catechesis series on the family, Pope Francis spoke about the sufferings experienced by children.
Of their experiences, he said the following: Children are subjected to human trafficking or trained for war, are forced to beg on the street, are denied education medical care, and are marked by family crisis. Children often become “prey to criminals, who exploit them for commerce or violence.” In every case, he said, “children are violated body and soul.”
For some children, from the very beginning they are “rejected, abandoned, robbed of their childhood and their future.” Some have claimed that it was a mistake to bring these children into the world on account of the fragility, hunger and poverty they suffer. Pope Francis called this claim a “disgrace.” A claim like this only serves to justify the adults in these situations and allows us to “unload our faults on children.” Children should not be forced to bear the punishment of adults’ mistakes.
In light of the faith though, children are never a mistake. For this reason, we are called to have an even greater love of children when they are poor, fragile or abandoned. Of these children, the Holy Father said, “Every marginalized, abandoned child…is a cry that goes up to God and that accuses the system that we adults have built.” God, the Father, does not forget a single child and their tears are not lost, according to the pope.
Our responsibility to children is not lost either. The welfare of children is the responsibility of each and every one of us, and of countries as a whole. Parents of children with serious difficulties need support, in which we share in their struggles and joys, said the pope. We also cannot give way to excuses for turning a blind eye, such as “in privacy, each one is free to do what he wishes” or “we don’t like it, we can’t do anything.” The Church puts her maternity at the service of children and families, bringing to them God’s blessing and tenderness also with a decisive condemnation of the exploitation of children.
He asked the audience to imagine a society where the founding principle was this: “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 too 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.”
In conclusion, he made reference to the statement in the Gospel of Matthew in which Christ says that the angels of children “always behold the face of the Father” (Mt 18:10). Pope Francis then asked, “If the Lord judges our life by listening to what they angles tell him about the children, what will the children’s angels tell God about us?”