“For parents surviving the death of their child is something particularly devastating. Time seems to stop, an abyss opens swallowing the past and the future. It is a slap to the love, the promises, the gifts, the sacrifices”. So, after the initial greetings, Pope Francis began his catechesis, which is part of the ones concerning the family, attended by over 15 thousand people. Today he discussed the issue of grief, highlighting that “when it hits the family, death never seems to us a natural thing”.
Facing the death “the whole family remains paralyzed and speechless and – the Pope observes – the child who remains alone after the loss of his or her parents suffers in the same way: ‘but where is daddy, mommy?’. ‘They’re in heaven’. ‘But why I cannot see them?’, this question covers a fear in the heart of a boy or a girl”. Moreover, the Pope explained that the loss of a loved one is like a “black hole that opening in the lives of the families,” an event that you cannot explain and that also leads us to blame God. “These people get angry, they curse, and this anger is nothing but the pain coming from the heart.”
“The family ties appear as inert powers” in front of the “black hole” that is the death of a child or a parent, but many are able “to demonstrate that death does not have the last word, every time a family has the strength to keep the love even in front of the death, it prevents it from taking everything. The darkness of death needs to be dealt with a more intense love of God”.
In addition, the Pontiff asked the pastors to stay close to the grieving families, “not denying the experience of crying”, helping “the families who have been able to see in the passage of death even the strong passage of the Lord, to understand the work of God’s love that is stronger than death; that love must make us complicit with our faith”. He also urged not to confuse the Christian view of death with “nihilistic visions” or with “old and new mythological views”.
At the end of the catechesis on the family, the Pope made a reference to his first real encyclical about the environment. “Tomorrow – he said – will be published the encyclical about the care of our ‘common home’ which is the Creation. Our ‘home’ is being ruined and this is hurting everyone, especially the poorest. My call is, therefore, for a responsibility based on the task that God has given to human beings to create and take care of their garden”. “I invite all – the Pope said in his general audience – to accept with open hearts this document, which follows the Church’s social doctrine”.
The Pope also recalled the many who “are seeking refuge away from their land” and “a home where they can live without fear, because their dignity may be always respected”, and encouraged to support “the work of those who bring them assistance” wishing that “the international community will act efficaciously to prevent the causes of forced migration”. “I invite you all – the Pope said in his call for the Day of Refugees – to ask forgiveness for the people and institutions that close the door to these people who are seeking a new life, a family, who are trying to be guarded.”
Translation provided by Maria Rosaria Mastropaolo