28 May 2019

Let’s encourage the culture of adoption because no child should grow up alone

Meeting with members of the "Istituto Ospedale degli Innocenti" (Hospital of the Innocents) in Florence
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Last Friday, during his meeting with members of the Hospital of the Innocents, Pope Francis, spoke about the matter of adoption.  Setting aside the speech he had prepared, he made an impromptu address.  These were probably the most heartfelt words that the Holy Father has ever used on this matter during his entire pontificate.

After the  President of the Hospital had talked about the tradition that mothers who entrusted their children to the Innocents  left them one half of a medal and kept the other half for themselves , in the hope that one day they could be reunited, the Pope said: “Today in the world there are many children who  in a certain sense have half the medal.  They are alone.  The victims of war, the victims of migration, unaccompanied children, the victims of hunger.  Children with half the medal. And who has the other half? Mother Church.   We have the other half.”

For the Holy Father, Christians are called upon to become families for the orphans: “We need to reflect and make people understand that we are responsible for this other half and to help to make today another ‘home of the Innocents’, more global, with the attitude of adoption”.

For Francis, adoption is above all an instrument for avoiding any child from being alone and without a family.  In this context, he emphasized the need to “create a culture of adoption” and overcome the numerous obstacles that today are causing the number of adopted minors to decrease greatly.

Francesco concluded by asking participants at the audience to “work on this”. This was a request that the Holy Father also addressed to the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life whose Statues call upon it to encourage “families to open up to the adoption or fostering of children […] putting pressure on the civil institutions to support such cases”.  For this reason, we have understood the words of the Holy Father as an encouragement to intensify our reflection and commitment to create a “culture of adoption” so all abandoned children find someone who shows them the other part of the medal.