Speaking during the weekly General Audience, the Pope continued his catechesis on the family opening up his reflections to a new perspective: the difficulties and problems that put families to the test in modern society.
One condition that afflicts families today – he said – is poverty. “Let’s think of the many families who populate the peripheries of large cities, and also of those who live in rural areas… how much misery, how much degradation!” he said.
And to make things even worse – the Pope continued – in some areas there is even war. War – he said – is always terrible, and it specially affects civilians and families.
“War really is the ‘mother of all poverties’, war impoverishes the family, it steals lives, souls, our most sacred feelings and our beloved ones” he said.
And yet – Pope Francis pointed out – even in the worst of circumstances, there are many poor people who persevere with dignity, often entrusting themselves to the goodness of God.
But – he warned – this fact must never be used to justify our indifference, rather it must increase our shame “that so much poverty exists!”
It’s almost a miracle – Francis said – that even amidst such poverty, families continue to be formed and sustained.
And he pointed out that those who consider family ties a secondary variable in respect to the quality of life “do not understand anything!”
We should kneel before these poor families – the Pope said – “they are a real school of humanity and they save society from barbarity”.
Pope Francis went on to say that “our modern economies often promote individual wellbeing at the expense of the family”, a reality that represents a grave contradiction as the immense work carried out by families is evaluated and appraised in budget plans.
The Pope concluded calling on Christians to always look for ways to strengthen and support families, especially poorer ones.
And he remarked on the fact that at this difficult time we all know some family member – a mother or a father – who are without work, and “the family suffers, the ties weaken. This is bad” he said.
The Church, as a mother – he said – can never be blind to the sufferings of her children. He said that she too must be poor so as to become fruitful and to be able to respond to so much misery.
For each of us, this means choosing simplicity both individually and in our institutions, so as to break down walls of division, especially poverty.
“To do this, prayer and action are needed” he said.
(from Vatican Radio)