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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

General audience: keep our promises to children

Vatican City, 14 October 2015 (VIS) – Before beginning this Wednesday's general audience, the Holy Father asked for forgiveness for the various scandals that have occurred in Rome and in the Vatican during recent days.

Returning to the theme of aspects of the relationship between the Church and the family, the Pope dedicated today's catechesis to to promises we make to children. He explained that this did not mean the many promises we make during the day to make them happy or good, or to encourage them to work hard at school, but rather the most important ones, “decisive for their expectations in life, for their trust in relation to other human beings, for their capacity to conceive of God's name as a blessing”.

“We adults refer to children as a promise of life”, he continued. “And we are easily moved by this, saying that the young are our future. But I wonder, at times, if we are equally serios about their future! A question that we should ask more often is this: how faithful are we to the promises we make to children when we bring them into our world? Welcome and care, closeness and attention, trust and hope, are all basic promises, that may be summarised in one word: love. This is the best way to welcome a human being into the world, and we all learn this before being aware of it. It is a promise that a man and a woman make to every child, from the moment he or she is conceived in their thoughts”.

When instead this promise is not honoured, “children are wounded by an unbearable 'scandal', made even more serious by the fact that they are unable to understand it. God keeps watch over this promise from the very first moment. Do you remember what Jesus said? 'Their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven'. Woe to those who betray their trust, woe! Their trustful abandonment to our promise, that commits us from the very first moment, will be our judgement”. The Pope added that children's spontaneous trust in God “should never be harmed, especially when this occurs as a result of a certain presumption, more or less consciously, to substitute Him. God's tender and mysterious relationship with the soul of children must never be violated. A child is ready from birth to feel loved by God. As soon as he or she is able to feel loved, a child also feels that there is a God Who loves children”.

“Only if we look at children with God's eyes are we truly able to understand how, by defending the family, we protect humanity! The viewpoint of children is the viewpoint of the Son of God”. Francis recalled that the Church herself, in Baptism, makes great promises to children, that require commitment on the part of parents and the Christian community, and concluded by asking that Our Lady and St. Joseph teach us to welcome Jesus in every child God sends us.

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