Addressing wounds directly

Pope Francis arrived in the United States this week. He’s scheduled to visit New York, Washington, and Philadelphia, where he’ll conclude the World Meeting of Families and celebrate Sunday Mass on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I’ll be there.

Earlier this year Pope Francis addressed family life in a series of public remarks. One of them in particular struck me:

“We know well that every family on occasion suffers moments when one family member offends another,” the Pope told pilgrims present in St. Peter’s Square…

The resulting wounds “come from words, actions and omissions which, instead of expressing love, hurt those nearest and dearest, causing deep divisions among family members, above all between husband and wife,” he noted.

Hiding these hurts “only deepens such wounds” and can lead to a buildup of anger and friction between loved ones, the Pope continued.

“If these wounds are not healed in time, they worsen and turn into resentment and hostility, which (then) fall to the children,” he cautioned, adding that when the wounds are particularly deep, “they can even lead a spouse to search for understanding elsewhere, to the detriment of the family.”

Pope Francis’ address was the latest in a series of teachings dedicated to the family. Recent speeches have focused on welcoming childrenvaluing marriagefragility of the human conditionpovertyillness in the family and the death of family members.

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