VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis praised poor families and their ability to “save society from barbarity,” on Wednesday (June 3), at a general audience at St. Peter’s Square in which he also named war and individualism as twin evils.
Addressing crowds of followers undeterred by the hot summer weather, the pope urged them to “kneel before these poor families.”
“They are a real school of humanity and they save society from barbarity,” he said.
Francis drew attention to poor families living on the outskirts of cities and in rural areas.
“How much misery, how much degradation!” he said.
Conflict is the “mother of all poverties” affecting families, the pope added: “War impoverishes the family, it steals lives, souls, our most sacred feelings and our beloved ones.”
Under these circumstances, the creation of families can be considered “almost a miracle,” the pope said, praising the ability of impoverished people to live with dignity and faith.
“But this fact must never be used to justify our indifference, rather it must increase our shame that so much poverty exists!” the pontiff said.
Repeating a view voiced repeatedly during his papacy, Francis went on to criticize modern economies as being overly individualistic. He called on Christians to support families, likening the church to a mother who “can never be blind to the suffering of her children.”
“She too must be poor so as to become fruitful and to be able to respond to so much misery,” the pope said.
YS/AMB END SCAMMELL