Vatican City, Jan 28, 2004 / 22:00 pm
Pope John Paul II released today his Lenten Message for 2004 entitled “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me,” inviting Catholics to reflect on how children are treated “in our families, in civil society, and in the Church.”
In his message, presented at the Vatican by Archbishop Paul Joseph Cordes, President of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”, the Holy Father recalls that Jesus “had a particular love for children because of ‘their simplicity, their joy of life, their spontaneity, and their faith filled with wonder’”.
“For this reason He wishes the community to open its arms and its heart to them, even as He did,” he adds.
“Alongside children –the Pope continues- Jesus sets the ‘very least of the brethren’: the suffering, the needy, the hungry and thirsty, strangers, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned. In welcoming them and loving them, or in treating them with indifference and contempt, we show our attitude towards him, for it is in them that He is particularly present.”