VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Catholic Church must help young people understand that marriage isn’t always easy, “but it is so beautiful,” Pope Francis said.
“There are problems in marriage: different points of view, jealousies, arguments, but tell young couples to never let the day end without making peace. The sacrament of matrimony is renewed in this act of peace,” the pope said Oct. 25 during a meeting with members of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
“This path is not easy, but it is so beautiful,” the pope said. “It’s beautiful. Tell them that.”
For the Catholic Church, he said, a family isn’t simply a group of individuals, but it is a community where people learn to love one another, share with and make sacrifices for each other and “defend life, especially of those who are more fragile and weak.”
The family as a special community must “be recognized as such, especially today when so much emphasis is placed on the safeguarding of individual rights,” he said. “We must defend the rights of this community that is the family.”
Defending the family also means defending the basic fact that it is a community founded on the marriage of a man and a woman, he said.
“Spousal and familial love clearly reveal that the vocation of the human person is to love one other person forever and that the trials, sacrifices and crises in the life of the couple or the family are stages for growth in goodness, truth and beauty,” he said.
As he has done on several occasions, Pope Francis also spoke about the special place in the family reserved for children and for the elderly, family members who are “the most vulnerable and often the most forgotten.”
“Any time a child is abandoned or an older person marginalized, it is not only an act of injustice, but marks the failure of that society,” he said. “Taking care of little ones and of the elderly is a mark of civility.”
Pope Francis, departing from his prepared text, told members of the council, “When I hear the confession of a young married man or woman, and they refer to their son or daughter, I ask, ‘How many children do you have?’ and they tell me. Maybe they’re expecting another question after that, but I always ask, ‘And tell me, do you play with your children? Do you waste time with your children?'”
“The free gift of a parent’s time is so important,” he said.
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