The Beauty of Complementarity and the Treasure of Marriage
On Monday, Pope Francis spoke to the pilgrim bishops of Puerto Rico who are fulfilling their ad limina visit to Rome. He highlighted the call that bishops and priests have to be “faithful servants of God’s forgiveness” through the sacrament of reconciliation, especially in the Jubilee of Mercy. Toward the end of his address, he stressed to the bishops the importance of strengthening their ministry to families, especially in the face of challenges such as “the difficult economic situation, emigration, domestic violence, unemployment, drug trafficking and corruption.” Despite these social problems that make marriage difficult, the Holy Father affirmed that marriage has “value and beauty.”
Pope Francis asserted that the differences between men and women enable them to offer gifts of themselves to each other and unite and procreate “in the image and likeness of God.” He noted that the complementarity of men and women is the “summit of divine creation,” pushing back against modern gender ideology that views gender differences as oppressive. He previously spoke about the tension between the Church’s view of gender and an increasingly common opposing modern view in his April 15th general audience.
Finally, Pope Francis spoke of the sacrament of marriage as indicating God’s unwavering love for all people and Christ’s selfless love for His Bride the Church. Because of these spiritual realities in which marriage participates, Pope Francis called the sacrament “one of the most important [treasures] of the Latin American and Caribbean peoples.” Fittingly, he ended his address to the Puerto Rican bishops by devoting their ministry to our model mother, the Virgin Mary.