Pope Francis reminds the world that children are a gift. Now, when you read that it’s not surprising or anything is it? But here’s the thing – we are not hearing it. Or maybe it’s worse. Maybe we are hearing him but we think that’s some weird old way of thinking, very unmodern.
It seems almost like kind of a “duh” statement but it’s the thing that the West needs to hear, needs to internalize. I’m glad Pope Francis is beating this particular drum.
Key statement: “A society can be judged by the way its children are treated.” If that is so, woe to us.
In his General Audience talk at St. Peter’s Square on March 18, Pope Francis criticized the low birth rates in Europe and emphasized that a society that seeks to exclude children is “a sad and gray society.”
“[C]hildren bring life, joy, hope, also trouble, but life is like this,” said the Pope, as translated by the Zenit news service. “They certainly also bring worries and sometimes problems.”
“However, it’s better to have a society with these worries and problems than a sad and grey society because it has remained without children,” he said. “And when we see that the level of births hardly reaches 1%, we can say that this society is grey because it has remained without children.”
The Pope said he wanted to focus on children as part of his ongoing teaching about the different roles in the family: mother, father, children, siblings and grandparents.
Children are “the great gift for humanity, but they are also greatly excluded,” said the Pope, adding that “a society can be judged by the way its children are treated.”