During the general audience of April 8th, Pope Francis spoke about children in need. He said:
We have already spoken of the great gifts that are our children, but today, unfortunately, we must talk of the ‘stories of passion’ that many of them have lived. So many children from the beginning are rejected, abandoned, robbed of their childhood and their future. Some dare to say that it is a mistake to make them come into the world. This is shameful! Do not unload our faults on children, please! Children are never ‘a mistake’. Their hunger is not a mistake, nor is their poverty, their fragility, their abandonment – many children abandoned in the streets; and neither is their ignorance or their failure – so many children who do not know what a school is. If anything, these are reasons to love them more, more generously. What good are solemn declarations of human rights, of the rights of the child, if we then punish children for the mistakes of adults?
Every child who begs on the streets, who is denied an education or medical care, is a cry to God and a charge against the system that we, adults, have built, and unfortunately, these children are prey for criminals, who exploit them for unworthy trades or businesses, or training them to war and 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. But none of these children is forgotten by the Father who is in heaven! None of their tears will be forgotten!
It is true that thanks to God, the children with serious difficulties often find extraordinary parents, who are ready for any sacrifice and with great generosity. But these parents should not be left alone! We should accompany their labour, but also offer them moments of shared joy and carefree merriment, so they are not only preoccupied with the therapeutic routine.
When it comes to children, in any case, we should never hear those legalistic formulas of defence such as: ‘After all, we are not a charity,’ or ‘in the privacy of one’s own home, everyone is free to do what they want ‘, or’ we are sorry, we cannot do anything ‘. These words are of no use when it comes to children, who all too often bear the brunt of lives worn by a precarious and poorly paid job, by impossible schedules, by inefficient transport … But children also pay the price for immature unions and irresponsible separations, they are the first victims; they suffer the results of the culture of exasperated subjective rights, and because of it become more precocious children. They often absorb violence that are not able to rid themselves of, and are forced to become accustomed to degradation.
Even in our time, as in the past, the Church puts her maternity at the service of children and their families. She brings God’s blessings, His maternal tenderness, His firm reproach and strong condemnation to the parents and children of our world. Brothers and sisters, think about it: You cannot mess with children!”
When it comes to children who are born into this world, no sacrifice by adults will be judged too expensive or too great, in preventing a child from believing he or she is a mistake, worthless and being abandoned to the wounds of life and arrogance of some men and women. The Lord will judge our lives by listening to what children’s angels tell Him, angels who according to the Gospel of Matewes always behold the face of the Father who is in heaven. We should always ask ourselves: what are the children’s angels telling God?