.- During the Angelus on the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, Pope Benedict XVI prayed for the children of the world, especially those who live in countries suffering from conflict or who are abused in different ways.
The Pontiff recalled that in many countries Epiphany is “the feast of the children,” and therefore he addressed “a special thought to all children, who are a treasure and blessing for the world, and especially to those who are denied a peaceful childhood.”
“I desire, in particular, to call attention to the dozens of children and young people of the western province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who in these last months, including the Christmas season, have been kidnapped by armed gangs who have attacked towns and have caused numerous victims and wounded,” he added.
The Holy Father called on the "authors of such inhumane brutality" to return the children to their families and to allow them a "future of security and development, which is their right and that of all of those beloved people.”
Pope Benedict XVI later pointed out that the episodes of violence related to young people taking place in other parts of the world "seem even more despicable considering that in 2009 we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of Children: a commitment in which the international community is called to renew the defense, protection and promotion of childhood worldwide.”
“May the Lord bless all those— they are many!—who work daily in the service of the new generations, helping them to be the protagonists of their future. In addition, the World Day of Missionary Childhood, which is celebrated on the feast of the Epiphany, is an opportune occasion to show how children and young people can play an important role in the spreading of the Gospel and in the works of solidarity towards their peers most in need. May the Lord reward them!” the Pope concluded.