Pope urges faithful to have more children

CLICK HEREPope Benedict XVI has said that the gift of children is a blessing from God, expressing the hope for the rejuveneation of societies that are "lacking in energy and hope because of a declining birth rate".

Catholic News Agency reports that the Holy Father told his weekly Wednesday audience at the Vatican: "To have children is a gift that brings life and welfare to society."

He said the steep decline in birth rates across western Europe has "deprived some nations of the freshness, the energy, the future embodied in children."

The Holy Father also paid homage to the Solidarity labor union, which is marking the 25th anniversary of its formation. He praised Solidarity for its historic role in bringing freedom to Poland and transforming the face of Europe in the late 20th century.

Enlarging on the theme of how cultures flourish, the Pope said that solidarity is built upon the shared commitment of all members of society.

However, he added, the common good also requires a proper reverence for God's role, "which is, unfortunately, often excluded or ignored." Pope Benedict said that a steady awareness of God's presence in human lie helps people to understand and to draw upon "the power of his love."

Although he showed clear signs of physical fatigue, the Holy Father followed his usual practice by greeting different groups in the audience after he finished his prepared remarks, using several different languages. Ordinarily papal audiences in August are held in the Paul VI auditorium, to protect participants from the heat of the northern summer. But because 11,000 pilgrims turned up, Vatican officials moved this week's audience to St. Peter's Square.

Pope deplores Europe's plunging birth rate (Catholic World News 31/8/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Benedict XVI General Audience - text (31/8/05)

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Benedict XVI: Jesus Alone Makes Us Free (Vatican Radio English Features 31/8/05, audio - requires Real Player)
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Pope's General Audience (Vatican Radio English Features 31/8/05, audio - requires Real Player)
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32 Sep 2005