Today, the liturgy of the Catholic Church commemorates the innocent saints, who were victims of the massacre of innocents. According to the Gospel, Herod ordered the killing of all children under the age of two living in the Bethlehem region, in order to ensure the newborn Jesus was out of the way. The Catholic Church celebrates these innocents three days after Christmas to emphasise the mysterious link between their tragic death and the promise of salvation brought to the world with the birth of Christ.

Even today there are still many innocent saints in the world. Images and videos of war scenes show them playing among the ruins of their own homes or having fun in the water-filled craters formed by bombs, which the children use as mini swimming pools.

Nothing is more unbearable for humanity than the pain of children. And there is nothing more diabolical than the pain caused to children. Both Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew spoke about this in perfect synchrony. In his homily on Christmas Eve, the Successor of Peter reflected on the mystery of Jesus’ birth, inviting people to be challenged “also by children of today’s world, who are not lying in a cot caressed with the affection of a mother and father, but rather suffer the squalid “mangers that devour dignity” hiding underground to escape bombardment, on the pavements of a large city, at the bottom of a boat overladen with immigrants”. Children “who are not allowed to be born, by those who cry because no one satiates their hunger, by those who do have not toys in their hands, but rather weapons”. CONTINUE READING