Vatican City, Sep 7, 2004 / 22:00 pm
Pope John Paul II invited the crowd gathered at this morning’s general audience in the Paul VI Hall, on the feast of the birth of the Virgin Mary, to remember children, especially "the many children in Beslan, North Ossetia, victims of a barbaric siege, who were tragically massacred."
The Holy Father recalled that the children in Beslan were at school, "a place where values are taught, which give meaning to the history, culture and civilizations of peoples: mutual respect, solidarity, justice and peace.”
“Inside those walls, however, they experienced abuse, hatred and death, the evil consequences of a cruel fanaticism and a disordered contempt of the human person," he said.
“In these moments our thoughts go to the innocent children who are victims of the violence of adults all over the world. Children forced to take up arms and taught to hate and to kill; children constrained to beg on the streets, exploited in order to make easy money, children mistreated and humiliated by the power and abuses of adults; children left on their own, deprived of the warmth of family life and a perspective of the future; children who die of hunger, children killed in so many conflicts in various parts of the world," said the Pope.