Pope Francis speaks of family wounds

“We are well aware that no moments are lacking in any family history in which the intimacy of dearest affections is offended by the behavior of its members. Words and actions (and omissions!) that, instead of expressing love, subtract or, even worse still, mortify it. When these wounds, which are still remediable, are neglected, they worsen: they are transformed into arrogance, hostility, contempt. And at a certain point they can become profound lacerations, which divide husband and wife, and induce to seeking understanding, support and consolation elsewhere. However, often these “supports” do not think of the good of the family….

Pope Francis on family wounds

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We talk a lot about behavioral disturbances, psychic health, the child’s well-being, of anxiety of parents and children … but do we yet know what a wound of the soul is? Do we feel the weight of the mountain that crushes the soul of a child, in families in which there is bad treatment and harm is done, to the point of breaking the bond of conjugal fidelity? In our choices — mistaken choices, for example — how much weight does the soul of the children have? When adults lose their head, when each one thinks only of him/herself, when father and mother harm one another, the soul of the child suffers much, he experiences a sense of desperation. And they are wounds that leave their mark for the whole of life.

Everything is connected together in the family: when its spirit is wounded in some point, the infection contaminates everyone. And when a man and a woman, who committed themselves to be “one flesh” and to form a family, think obsessively of their own needs of freedom and gratification, this distortion profoundly damages the heart and life of the children….

Not lacking, thank God, are those that, sustained by faith and love of the children, witnesses their fidelity to a bond in which they believed, although it seems impossible to revive….

We find around us different families in so-called irregular situations — I don’t like this word — and we ask ourselves many questions. How can we help them? How can we support them? How can we support them so that the children do not become hostages of the father or of the mother?”

For the full message, please see it at zenit.org/en/articles/general-audience-on-family-wounds.

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