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Pope Franics - Protection for Children

Francis Asks: Calls on Protections for Children, Including Reaffirming Right to Grow Up With a Father and Mother

VATICAN CITY, April 11, 2014 (Zenit.org) -

The International Catholic Child Bureau, also known as BICE, is an NGO that protects children's rights and fights against ill-treatment of children. The mission of this French non-profit, which was founded in 1948 and is active in 66 countries, is "to defend the rights and dignity of the child worldwide."

Welcoming BICE to the Vatican, Pope Francis thanked them for their efforts in favor of children. "I like to say that, in a well constituted society, privileges should be only for children and the elderly," he said, "because the future of a people is in their hands. The children because they certainly will carry force in face of history, and the elderly because they are the seat of wisdom of a people and they must contribute that wisdom."

Child's right to mom and dad

Francis also discussed the role of family as necessary for child development, saying "it is necessary to reaffirm the right of children to grow up in a family, with a father and a mother capable of creating an ideal environment for their development and emotional maturity."

Putting emphasis on parents supporting religious and moral education of children, Pope Francis went an extra step in providing visual examples to explain his rejection of educational experiments with children.

He said, "I would like to express my rejection of all types of educational experiments with children. One cannot experiment with children and young people. They are not laboratory guinea-pigs. The horrors of educational manipulation that we experienced in the great genocidal dictatorships of the 20th century have not disappeared; they keep their currency under different clothing that, with the pretension of modernity, force children and young people to walk on the dictatorial path of the “single thought.”

Concluding his address, Pope Francis emphasized the planning of educational projects. He acknowledged they "have to progress, have to mature, have to adapt to the signs of the times, always respecting human identity and liberty of conscience."

After again thanking BICE's leaders for their good work, the Holy Father pointed out the logo of the Commission for the Protection of Childhood and Adolescence in Buenos Aires, Argentina: "Sometimes one has to escape to defend. Sometimes one has to stay and protect. Sometimes one has to fight, but one must always have tenderness." (D.C.L.)