If you saw Pope Francis at today’s general audience, or heard him on radio, you heard the anguish in his voice during this week’s catechesis on children, specifically, as he said, on “the stories of passion” of children, the unloved, the abandoned, the rejected, those suffering poverty or who have become victims of criminals.

For months, the Pope has been offering a series of catecheses on the family, focusing on mothers, fathers, grandparents, brothers and sisters. Shortly before Easter he began a catechesis on children, stressing in the first audience on this topic, how “children are a great gift for humanity.” (today’s audience: news.va)


Today, he said he would be completing his reflection on children, “the most beautiful fruit of the blessing that the Creator has bestowed on man and woman. I wish to focus our attention on the suffering that 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.”

Saying children are a mistake, said the Pope, “is shameful! Please, let us not punish them for our own errors! Children are never a mistake!”


Francis said, “Those who have the task of governing and educating – indeed, I would say, all adults – are responsible for children, and everyone must do what he can to change this situation. I refer to the passion of children. Every marginalized, abandoned child, living on the streets by begging or by any other expedient, without schooling, without medical care, is a cry lifted up to God and an accusation against the system we have constructed. … However, none of these children are forgotten by the Father in Heaven. None of their tears are in vain. And our responsibility must not be forgotten either, the social responsibility of persons and countries.”

The Pope recalled how Jesus urged the apostles to let the children come to Him, and remarked that, “thanks to God, children with serious difficulties very often find extraordinary parents, willing to make any sacrifice and to spare no act of generosity.” These parents, exclaimed the Pope, “should not be left alone! We must accompany them in their efforts, but also offer them moments of shared joy and carefree pleasure, so that they are not entirely consumed by the routines of therapy.”

He also mentioned that often children suffer the consequences of lives damaged by precarious or underpaid employment, unreasonable working hours, immature relationships and irresponsible separations. “Often they experience violence that they are not able to overcome, and before the eyes of adults are forced to grow accustomed to degradation.”

Some of the adorable children I met in Iraq – hopefully their angels are watching over them!

IRAQ 2010 101 IRAQ 2010 104 IRAQ 2010 106 IRAQ 2010 111

And the Holy Father challenged the faithful: “What is the point of making solemn declarations of human rights and children’s rights, if then we punish children for the mistakes of adults?”

“Imagine a society,” he said, “that decided, once and for all, to establish the principle that … where the children who come into this world are concerned, no sacrifice on the part of adults may be judged as too costly or too great, so that nop child believes they are a mistake, without value.”

Pope Francis concluded his catechesis: “May the Lord judge our life by listening to what the angels of children bring to Him, those angels that always see the face of the Father in heaven. Let us always ask ourselves, what do they tell God about us, these children’s angels?”