The Madonna of the Rabbit (1530)
Musée du Louvre
The meetings with families and young people, in Manila, were significant moments of the visit to the Philippines. Healthy families are essential to the life of society. It gives comfort and hope to see many families that welcome children as a true gift of God. They know that every child is a blessing. I've heard - some people say - that families with many children and the birth of so many children are among the causes of poverty. I think this is a rather simplistic opinion. I can say, all we can say, that the main cause of poverty is an economic system that has removed the person from its center, replacing him with the god of money, an economic system that excludes, always excludes: That excludes children, the elderly, the young, the jobless ... - and that creates the throw-away culture in which we live. We have grown used to seeing people being discarded. This is the main cause of poverty, not families. Evoking the figure of St Joseph, who protected the life of the "Santo Niño", so revered in that country, I mentioned that we need to protect families, which face various threats, so that they can witness the beauty of the family in God's plan. Families need to be defended from new ideological colonization, that seek to threaten their identity and mission.
General Audience - Rome
January 21, 2015