More than 230 million children around the world live in areas affected by armed conflict. Although there is no accurate data on the total number of child soldiers, it is estimated that there are around 250,000. Child soldiers — some as young as 6 years old — are forced to fight and kill. They are also compelled to participate in espionage, support armed groups as informants, and engage in illicit activities such as drug production.
Prayer and supporting JRS and Entreculturas programs can help ensure that children do not spend their childhood on a battlefield. People are also encouraged to support Pope Francis' initiative by signing the related petition.
Below is The Pope's Video — a worldwide call to turn prayer into "concrete gestures" — from December 2016, in which the pope prays that the scandal of child soldiers may be eliminated.
August 21, 2018 — Pope Francis has responded to new reports of clerical sexual abuse and the ecclesial cover-up of abuse. In an impassioned letter addressed to the whole People of God, he calls on the Church to be close to victims in solidarity, and to join in acts of prayer and fasting in penance for such "atrocities".
October 29, 2018 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. George W. Traub, SJ, who died on Saturday, October 27, 2018, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Mich. He was 82 years old. May he rest in peace.
October 25, 2018 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Robert E. Brodzeller, SJ, who was called to eternal life on October 24, 2018. Father Brodzeller died at St. Camillus Jesuit Community, in Wauwatosa, Wis. He was eighty-eight years old, a Jesuit for sixty-eight years, and a priest for fifty-five years.