Children in consumerist societies "risk losing hope," says Pope Benedict

Speaking on Saturday for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Benedict XVI warned of consumerism's increasing spread among children.

He began his talk by first reflecting on Mary, whose being conceived without sin the Church was celebrating. “Looking at her we recognize the greatness and beauty of God's project for each human being: to become holy and immaculate in love, in the image of our Creator,” the Pope proclaimed.

"What a great gift it is to have Mary Immaculate for a mother," Benedict XVI rejoiced. "A mother resplendent in beauty and transparent to the love of God."

In contrast to this beauty and purity, the Holy Father turned to the young people of today who are, he said, "growing up in an atmosphere pervaded with messages that propose false models of happiness. These boys and girls risk losing hope because they often seem to be orphaned of that real love which fills life with meaning and joy," Pope Benedict warned.

Adults advancing false models of happiness, he said, were targeting children at ever-younger ages.

"Adolescents, youths and even children are easy victims of the corruption of love, deceived by unscrupulous adults who, lying to themselves and to them, draw them into the dead-end streets of consumerism," he continued.

Pope Benedict lamented that in a consumerist society even human bodies become objects, saying that this objectification is occurring earlier and earlier.

"How sad it is when young people lose the marvel, the enchantment, of the most beautiful feelings, the value of respect for one's body," he said.

"Of all this we are reminded by Mary Immaculate whom we contemplate in all her beauty and sanctity," the Pope concluded.

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