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Pope says there is no future without children

By on Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Pontiff pictured at today's general audience (PA photo)

The Pontiff pictured at today's general audience (PA photo)

Pope Benedict XVI has called on governments and communities to help large families, saying children represent hope and the well-being of every nation.

“There is no future without children,” he said at the end of his general audience in a greeting to members of an Italian association of large families.

“In today’s social context, a family made up of many children constitutes a witness of faith, courage and optimism,” he said. “I hope that adequate social and legislative measures are promoted that safeguard and sustain large families, which represent richness and hope for the whole country,” he said.

In his catechesis, the Pope continued a series of talks on prayer by highlighting some of Jesus’s prayers during his Crucifixion.

Jesus’s willingness to forgive his tormenters and executioners is an invitation to all Christians to forgive those who cause harm or are in the wrong, the Pope said.

People should pray for those who have done them wrong with “the same attitude of mercy and love that God has for us,” he said. Jesus called on God to forgive his executioners as they nailed him to the Cross and divided up his clothing. He said the soldiers “do not know what they are doing” and, by forgiving them, he showed “the depths of his reconciling love for humanity,” which often sins out of ignorance, the Pope said. His prayer invites all Christians to follow the same “difficult gesture of also praying for those who do us wrong or hurt us – always knowing to forgive so that God’s light may illuminate their hearts,” Pope Benedict said.

Jesus then prayed for the man crucified next to him – the good thief – who recognised Jesus as the Son of God and asked him to “remember me when you come into your kingdom”. Jesus told him there would be a place for him in paradise, thereby giving the repentant man “unfaltering hope”. His prayer shows “that God’s goodness can touch us even at the last moment of life and that sincere prayer, even after a bad life, encounters the open arms of the good father,” the Pope said.

Jesus’ final prayer on the cross was when he commended his spirit to God, showing his complete surrender to his father’s will, the Pope said. “It shows us the certainty that no matter how hard the trials, difficult the problems and oppressive the suffering, we will never fall out of God’s hands – those hands that created us, sustain us and accompany us on the journey of life guided by an infinite and faithful love,” he said.

  • ms Catholic state

    I hope the Pope’s message on children and the future will be broadcast to every nation’s government……but I doubt it.  Certain malign and demonic forces are against procreation.  Can anyone imagine what the reaction of European leaders to the Pope’s message would be?!! 

  • Anonymous

    People should have children if they wish too. To be an unwanted child cannot be a good thing. If
    couples do not want to have children, they should not have them.

    People should have as many children as they wish, but not to have families so large that they
    struggle to be able to afford living costs, or that children are not given the attention, love and parental-time they need to develop properly.

    I recently watched a programme about a family with 12 children, and it was clear that some of the
    children were not getting adequate love and support, despite the parents’ best efforts.

    Neither are large families a good idea when it makes the quality of life of the children suffer, because of financial implications. At school I was a friend to someone of a family of 6, he and his siblings lived in a very crowded (and damp) house, in poor conditions. It was clear that money was always an issue, and he and his siblings never partook in school trips, or could afford proper school clothing.His mother worked part-time while the children were at school, and his father as a labourer.

    This struck me as a very poor situation, and looking back I can’t see that a larger family was of benefit.

    On the other-hand both of my parents come from larger families, and for the most-part found it beneficial to the best of my knowledge.

    I do think that what this does show however, is that blanket statements are not always helpful and
    that the choice of family size – (or the choice to have children at all), is best made case by case –
    as each situation is different.

  • ms Catholic state

    there is no such thing as an unwanted child.  Don’t put that vile stigma on any child.  No…..there are only parents who don’t love their child!! 

    Christ loves and wants ALL children….even if adults don’t.

  • Honeybadger

    Why can’t governments regard children not only as valued members of society, a valuable asset to their respective nations (and their faith) and hope for the future as our Holy Father does?

    No. In society, they are ‘mistakes’ instead of blessings, ‘monsters’ instead of children, pawns in some evil and manipulative game, excuses to jump housing waiting lists, in-the-way, considered a drain on finances and no better than punchbags and stress toys made for shouting, swearing and screaming at!

    For every child that is aborted or unwanted, there’s love cruelly denied.

  • O-P

    Well, I won’t be having any, because I can’t afford to. School fees are not cheap these days.

  • Ohio reader

    I urge you to reconsider and have more hope for the future. To know that you could have done so, and missed the opportunity, will be an unbelievably bitter pill to swallow years from now. Having children should not be a privilege reserved for the rich.

  • ms Catholic state

    Because our secular governments are blinded by a false and evil ideology that recognises no God.  And they have created their own anti-birth ideology which satisfies the Demon instead. 

    And it is the height of fashion and sophistication for women to be regarded as career women rather than wives and mothers.  When in fact, mothers are the central pillar around which society turns.  No mothers means no future….nothing.

  • Honeybadger

    I so agree with you!

    Governments are reaping what they sow and blaming everyone but themselves for such issues as pensions shortfall, ageing population etc.

    It’s high time they opened their eyes!

  • Anonymous

    What is so wrong about deciding whether to have children or not? 

  • Anonymous

    There are unwanted children, and that is a terrible thing. If people chose, and planned to have children then we could guarantee all children were wanted.

    The Church advocated ‘natural family planning’ so therefore it agrees that people should choose to have children when they are ready and want to look after and love them.

  • Anonymous

    Children are wonderful, that’s why all of them should be wanted. Parents should make the decision to have children therefore guaranteed that they are loved and never feel unwanted or unloved.