At the conclusion of the audience devoted to the “Fear of God”on June 11, 2014, the Pope appeals against child labor: “Tens of millions are exposed to forms of slavery and exploitation, as well as to abuse, ill-treatment and discrimination”.
Arms manufacturers, exploiters of “slave labor” and those corrupted will one day “be accountable to God”. Pope Francis said at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, which ended with an appeal against child labor.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio concluded today talking about the “fear of God” a series of reflections on the seven “gifts of the spirit”. Fear of God, he said at the beginning, “does not mean being afraid of God, no, not that! We know that God is a Father who loves us and wants our salvation, and always forgives: always! So there is no reason to be afraid of him! The fear of God, however, is the gift of the Spirit who reminds us how small we are before God and his love, and that our good lies in surrender with humility, respect and trust in his hands. This is the fear of God: this abandonment in the goodness of our Father who loves us so much”. The “fear of God”, in other words, “open hearts”, “makes us aware that everything comes from grace and that our true strength lies only in following the Lord Jesus and in letting the Father bestow upon us the His goodness and mercy: an open heart “so that the forgiveness, the mercy, the goodness, the caresses of the Father come to us. Because we are infinitely loved children”.
But “the gift of the fear of God - the Pope said - is also an alarm in the face of the obstinacy in sin. When people live badly, using blasphemy against God, by exploiting others, when they tyrannize, when they live only for the money, or power for vanity or pride, then the holy fear of God alerts us: ‘Be careful, with all this power, with all this money, with all your pride, and with all thy vanity, you will not be happy!' No one - Pope Francis reiterated under the applause of the faithful who filled St. Peter's Square - can rake with them to the other side either money or power or vanity or pride: nothing! We can only bring the love that God the Father gives us, the caresses of God accepted and received by us with love. And we can take what we have done for others. I think for example - continued Bergoglio - of people who have responsibility towards others and allow themselves to be corrupted: but do you think that a corrupt person will be happy on the other side? No! But all the fruits of his corruption has corrupted his heart, and it will be hard to go to the Lord. I think of those who live of human trafficking and slave labor: do you think that these people have in their hearts the love of God, one who deals in people, one that takes advantage of people with slave labor? No! They have no fear of God are not happy: no they are not”. I think, he said again, “of those who manufacture weapons for fomenting wars ... Think, what kind of work I that! I'm sure - said the Pope addressing the faithful - that if I now ask the question: how many of you are arms manufacturers? No one, no one, because they do not come to hear the Word of God. These produce death, they are merchants of death, who build this merchandise to death. May the fear of God make them understand that one day it will all end and that they must account to God”.
After two days of a “mild illness” which caused the cancellation of several public engagements, yesterday and the day before yesterday, today Pope Francis began his general audience, stopping first in the Paul VI Hall, before traveling by jeep to Saint Peters square, in order to greet the sick who, because of the heat, followed the audience indoors on screens. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Pope made an appeal in view of World Day against the exploitation of child labor, which will be celebrated tomorrow.
“Tens of millions of children ... listen carefully: tens of millions of children are forced to work in degrading conditions, exposed to forms of slavery and exploitation, as well as to abuse, ill-treatment and discrimination”, he said. "I fervently hope that the international community can extend social protection of minors to eradicate this scourge. Let us renew our commitment, especially families, to ensure that the dignity of every child is safeguarded and they can grow up healthy. A childhood with hope allows children to look with confidence to life and future. I invite you all to pray to Our Lady, which took the baby Jesus in her arms, to pray to her for these boys and girls who are exploited with labor and abuse”. While reading the appeal the Pope showed the flyer “All together against child labor”. With his final farewells, Bergoglio then addressed the participants at a conference on ethics and finance at the Augustinian (“finances really do need ethics today”), to the faithful at Castel San Giovanni reminiscent of the centenary of the birth of Cardinal Casaroli (“A good man this Casaroli!”) and the workers of the Fiat factory at Pomigliano d’Arco who arrived at the hearing to give the Pope a Panda, mindful that Bergoglio had used just that very model Fiat during his visit to Assisi.