This week's general audience was held outdoors in St. Peter's Square, where the Pope made his way through the crowds, in a popemobile.
Lately, his catechesis have focused on the family. After dedicating his last two to fatherhood, he talked about children. He said kids are not born to be property of their parents.
"Children are a gift. Do you understand? Each is unique and each is unrepeatable.”
To explain, he recalled what his mother said when asked which of her five children she loved most.
"Allow me to share a childhood memory, my mother would always say – there were five of usin our family – when asked which one was her favorite, she would say ‘I have five children like I have five fingers…if they beat one of my fingers all five hurt…all of my children are mine, but each one is different, just like my fingers…this is the way it is in the family, all children are different but all children…”
The Pope added that children provide joy and hope to the family and society. They are the future and when they feel loved, they are able to face the difficulties of life. Feeling support and love from their parents facilitates understanding of how God loves man.
"And if we fail, He continues to follow us patiently without diminishing His love for us. Our Heavenly Father never takes a backward step in His love for us never, he always moves forward and waits for us.”
He also explained that children should honor their parents and requested a moment of silence for everyone to think about their parents and children.
The Pope stressed that a society with children has hope for the future. He said that, Europe, the old continent, has a challenge in this respect.
"Just think of the many societies we know here in Europe. They are depressed societies because they don’t want children, they don’t have children. The birth rate doesn’t even reach 1%, why? Everyone should think about that and answer it personally.”
At the same time, he pointed out that parents should not be irresponsible when thinking about how many children to have. He said they cannot be selfish.
"A society that is not surrounded by children because it considers them a problem has no future. Parents should plan responsibily, but simply having many children cannot be seen as an irresponsible decision. Life is rejuvenated when we multiply.”
The Pope asked for the attendees to pray for the impending meeting of cardinals in Rome and for the more than 200 migrants who recently perished in a shipwreck off Italy's coast.