Children were at the center of the Pope's catechesis at the General Audience today in St. Peter's Square. "We adults are ready to talk about children as a promise of life—said Francis—. We all say: Children are a promise of life. Yet, I wonder, sometimes, if we are that serious with their future. A question we should often ask ourselves is this: Do we keep the promises that we make to children, when we bring them into our world? We make them come into the world and that is a promise: yet, what do we really promise to them?"
Among the "basic promises," are "acceptance and care, closeness and attention, trust and hope," altogether summed up in the word "love." Now, love "is the promise that a man and a woman make to every child, from the moment of its conception in thought. Children come into the world and expect to see this promise confirmed: they expect it totally, trustingly, defenselessly. Just look at them: in all ethnic groups, in all cultures, in all conditions of life! When the contrary happens, children are injured by an unbearable 'scandal', which is all the more serious, because they do not have the means to decipher it. They cannot understand what is happening. God watches over this promise, from the very first moment [...] Woe to those who betray their trust, woe! Their trusting abandonment to our promise, which commits us from the first instant on, judges us."
The Pope added that the "spontaneous confidence" that children have placed in God "should never be slighted, when it happens because of a certain (more or less unconscious) presumption of taking His place. God's tender and mysterious relationship with the souls of children should never be violated. It is a real relationship, that is God's will and God protects it. When a child is born it is ready to feel loved by God, it is ready for this. As soon as it is able to feel that it is loved for itself, a child also feels that there is a God who loves children." "Only if we look at children through Jesus' eyes—he concluded—we can truly understand how, by defending the family, we protect humanity! The point of view of children is the point of view of the Son of God."