The pope spoke about the importance of children for both sustainability and solidarity.
“We will not be able to feed production and protect the environment if we are not attentive to families and children,” he said.
Noting the “explosion of births” during the reconstruction periods following World War I and World War II, he said that today too we find ourselves in a period of “restarting” after the coronavirus pandemic.
“We cannot follow short-sighted models of growth, as if only some hasty adjustments were needed to prepare for tomorrow,” he argued. “No, the tragic number of births and the appalling numbers of the pandemic call for change and responsibility.”
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He encouraged people to instill in the young a desire to pursue their dreams, to sacrifice themselves for others, and to do good in the world.
Sometimes, he said, the message that is transmitted is that “fulfillment means making money and success, while children seem almost a diversion, which must not hinder their personal aspirations.”
“This mentality is gangrene for society and makes the future unsustainable,” he underlined.
Pope Francis also urged companies not to exploit their employees with unsustainable work conditions and hours, and to ensure they receive a fair amount of the revenue, as a contribution “to a priceless development, that of families.”
“It is a challenge not only for Italy, but for many countries, often rich in resources, but poor in hope,” he commented.