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Pope to parents: Teach your children to respect, defend human life

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Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead the Angelus from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Aug 11. (CNS photo/Stefano Rellandini, Reuters)

Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead the Angelus from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Aug 11. (CNS photo/Stefano Rellandini, Reuters)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Respect for human life from conception until natural death is something children must be taught, not mainly with words, but by the example of their parents, Pope Francis said.

“Parents are called to pass on to their children the awareness that life must always be defended,” Pope Francis wrote in a message to people joining in the Brazilian Catholic Church's celebration of Family Week, which began Aug. 11.

The pope returned to his condemnation of the “throwaway culture,” something he spoke against several times during his July 22-28 visit to Brazil. He had said that modern cultures tend to treat even human lives as disposable, pointing to the way people, societies and even governments tend to treat both the young and the old.

In his message for Family Week, he said parents have a responsibility to fight that disposable culture by teaching their children that human life, “from the womb,” is a gift from God. New life ensures the future of humanity, he said, while older people — especially grandparents — “are the living memory of a people and transmit the wisdom of life.”

The pope also charged married Catholic couples and their children with the task of recognizing they must be “the most convincing heralds” of the beauty and grace of Christian marriage.

By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service.

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