Pope John Paul II, speaking to participants in the World Conference of Women Parliamentarians for the Care of Children and Adolescents this morning, said that “children are the most precious treasure of the human family,” and “no one can remain silent or indifferent when innocent children suffer.”
The Pope mentioned that the objectige of the conference (taking place in Rome under the sponsorship of the presidency of the Italian Parliament) was "to find together efficacious forms of caring for minors by institutions.”
“In this regard,” he said, “I wish to express my appreciation for this praiseworthy involvement in favor of the youngest members of the population, while I encourage you to pursue this path in the awareness that children and adolescents are the future and hope of mankind."
"Children are the most precious treasure of the human family," he continued, "but at the same time the most fragile and vulnerable members. Therefore it is important to constantly listen and pay attention to all of their legitimate needs and aspirations. In a special way, no one can remain silent or indifferent when innocent children suffer, are marginalized or wounded in their dignity as human persons."
“The immense cry of pain of those children who are abandoned and violated in many regions of the earth, should compel public institutions, private associations and all people of good will to become aware again of the duty that we all have to protect, defend and educate with respect and love these fragile creatures," said the Holy Father.
"To be efficacious," he concluded, "every action of caring for children and adolescents can only be inspired by the dutiful consideration of their fundamental rights."