On Family Wounds: Do Not Scandalize the Little Ones
At Pope Francis’ general audience this morning, June 24, 2015, he spoke about wounds which occur in families. He acknowledged the reality of words, actions, and omissions that are opposed to love and that can evolve into “profound lacerations which divide husband and wife.” The Pope expressed his great concern for the children of parents who are considering or experiencing divorce or separation. The rift between parents “falls on the children” of the family. In expressing his great concern for “the wounds of children’s souls,” he wondered if the modern culture is too caught up in the study of psychology to show compassion for children who are crushed by “the weight of [a] mountain.” Pleading for us to consider the ramifications of our actions, he asked, “In our choices…how much weight does the soul of the child have?”
The Holy Father stated that the family is a connected, interdependent structure. Because of this, when the parents wound each other or act selfishly, they hurt their children. The harms incurred upon the “one flesh” union of husband and wife extend to the “flesh of their flesh,” their children. The Pope then recalled Jesus’ serious rebuking of the disciples in Matthew 18 when He instructed them not to harm the “little ones” or prevent them from following Him. He noted that this teaching informs the “grave responsibility to protect the conjugal bond that begins the human family.”
However, Pope Francis also said that “that there are cases in which separation [of parents] is inevitable…even…morally necessary” in order to prevent violence against the vulnerable in the family. The Pope expressed gratitude for separated parents who continue to “witness their fidelity to a bond in which they believed.” He concluded the audience by praying for faith to see things as God does and charity to act mercifully toward others.