Pope in Brazilian Slum: Life and Family Are 'Fundamental Pillars That Govern a Nation'

By Terence P. Jeffrey | July 26, 2013 | 10:02am EDT


Pope Francis blesses a child in the Varginha neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Luca Zennaro)

(CNSNews.com) - Speaking in the impoverished Varginha neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Thursday, Pope Francis said that it is necessary to "give bread to the hungry," but stressed that society cannot promote the common good when it ignores the "fundamental pillars that govern a nation"--listing as the first two of these "life" and "family."

"Dear friends, it is certainly necessary to give bread to the hungry--this is an act of justice," said the pope. "But there is also a deeper hunger, the hunger for a happiness that only God can satisfy, the hunger for dignity.

"There is neither real promotion of the common good nor real human development," said the pope, "when there is ignorance of the fundamental pillars that govern a nation, its non-material goods: life, which is a gift of God, a value always to be protected and promoted; the family, the foundation of coexistence and a remedy against social fragmentation; integral education, which cannot be reduced to the mere transmission of information for purposes of generating profit; health, which must seek the integral well-being of the person, including the spiritual dimension, essential for human balance and healthy coexistence; security, in the conviction that violence can be overcome only by changing human hearts."

Francis, an Argentinian who is the first pope from the Americas, is visiting Brazil to attend the Catholic Church's World Youth Day.

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