(Vatican Radio) “It is a duty of everyone to protect children, especially those exposed to elevated risk of exploitation, trafficking, and deviant conduct.”
That was the message of Pope Francis for International Missing Children’s Day at his General Audience on Wednesday. Missing Children’s Day was established in the United States by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, four years after the disappearance of 6-year-old Etan Patz in New York City. The date of his disappearance, May 25, was chosen for the annual commemoration. Since 1998 Missing Children’s Day has been commemorated internationally.
In his appeal at the conclusion of the weekly Audience, Pope Francis expressed his hope that “civil and religious authorities might stir consciences and raise awareness, in order to avoid indifference in the face of children on their own, exploited children, and children far from their families and their social context, children who cannot grow-up peacefully or look with hope to the future.”
He invited everyone “to prayer that each of them might be restored to the affection of their loved ones.”