Speech by H.E. Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, Second Forum
H.E. Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo
President of the Pontifical Council for the Family
Distinguished participants in this important event,
I am sincerely grateful for the invitation extended to me to take part in the inauguration of this Second Forum of the Global Network of Religions for Children. I have followed the efforts of this organization with great interest which are aimed at aiding the integral formation of children, and making its contribution to building a world more suitable for children, a world children will be welcomed tenderly and with the responsibility to protect them as children of God. In this way, a step forward is taken in humanity’s efforts to bring about a better world, but is could never be better without the faces, smiles and peace of children.
The values transmitted to children and to which they are educated must always confirm to the universal, perennial values and rights of human nature. Even the smallest child, one who has just been conceived, is always a most precious gift of God sealed with the Creator’s image and likeness. The care of these littlest members of the human community has always been a concern of the Catholic Church. As Pope John Paul II stated, “By fostering and exercising a tender and strong concern for every child that comes into this world, the Church fulfills a fundamental mission: for she is called upon to reveal and put forward anew in history the example and the commandment of Christ the Lord, who placed the Child at the heart of the Kingdom of God: ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven’” (Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, No. 26).
Today’s children will soon be adults entrusted with the responsibility to manage our world in the future, just as we were entrusted with that weighty change in the past. The future of humanity depends on the formation of these children. “No country on earth, no political system can think of its own future otherwise than through the image of these new generations that will receive from their parents the manifold heritage of values, duties and aspirations of the nation to which they belong and of the whole human family” (Ibid). In this regard, no one can ignore the fact that still today children are often the victims of injustices caused by adults. Any initiative, at any level, undertaken to benefit children should have only one goal: the higher interest of the child.
As I have often repeated and reaffirm once more, there must be the awareness that if any effort in favor of children is to be truly effective, it must be closely connected with their parents and the family. “As well as being a source, the parents’ love is also the animating principle and therefore the norm inspiring and guiding all concrete educational activity, enriching it with the values of kindness, constancy, goodness, service, disinterestedness and self-sacrifice that are the most precious fruit of love” (Ibid., No. 36)
I hope that the Second Forum of the Global Network, which is opening its work in these days, will always respect these beneficial principles. Help adults to from children in the essential values of human life! The right pedagogical framework for a hierarchy of values requires considering human life as a fundamental value whose source, which is solidly tested in the truth about man, is divine love. We hope that the projects of this organization will contribute to a greater sensitivity on the part of today’s boys and girls to the dignity of human life and human rights, so that when they will become adults tomorrow, they will be up to their responsibility to develop and perfect humankind.
The current world situation calls for timely interventions in favor of children. As Pope John Paul II wrote in his Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio: “In a society shaken and split by tensions and conflicts, caused by the violent clash of various kinds of individualism and selfishness, children must be enriched not only with a sense of true justice, which alone leads to respect for the personal dignity of each individual, but also and more powerfully by a sense of true love, understood as sincere solicitude and disinterested service with regard to others, especially the poorest and those in most need” (No.37). Who can ignore the fact that some initiatives are needed urgently, for instance, in favor of peace in the world?
From their earliest years, children must be educated to peaceful coexistence between peoples. Peace is not just the result of human efforts, but above all, it is a gift of God. The Holy Father encourages children to pray for this most noble cause. In his Letter to Children, he wrote: “We must pray together and pray hard, that humanity, made up of billions of human beings, may become more and more the family of God and able to live in peace”.
It is our sincere hope that the Global Network of Religions for Children will be an occasion for peace, harmony and promotion of the dignity of men and children, as well as an instrument of collaboration and dialogue among all people of good will. May this be the fruit of the honest search for good and collaboration among people of different religions in favor of the true good of every child, which is deeply inscribed in the common good of humanity.