Vatican City State, May 20, 2015
Pope Francis continued his series of catechesis on the family at today’s General Audience in St. Peter’s Square. The Holy Father made his way around the square in his Popemobile with the sounds of musical bells by a group of children from Asia.
Beginning his address, the Holy Father expressed his joy at seeing so many families present with their children. “I would like to welcome you because I see so many families,” he said, “Good morning to all the families!”
The Pope dedicated today’s catechesis to an important aspect in the family: the education of children. Sympathizing with the difficulty that families have to make time with their children during the week, especially single parent homes.
The Holy Father noted that in today’s world, the family is under attack, saying that “intellectual ‘critics’ have tried to silence parents from the damage – real or imagined – of family education.”
“The family was accused, among other things, of authoritarianism, cronyism, of conformism, of emotional repression that generates conflicts,” he said. For this reason, he continued, this mutual trust between society and the family has been broken, causing a crisis between the educational alliances between them.”
The Holy Father lamented the rise in so-called “experts” who have occupied the role of parents “in the most intimate aspects of education.
On emotional life, on personality and development, on rights and duties, the ‘experts’ know everything: objectives, motivations, techniques. And parents only have to listen, learn and adapt,” he said. “Deprived of their role, [parents] become over-burdened and possessive of their children, never even correcting them.”
To explain this, the Holy Father recalled an episode from his childhood in which a teacher corrected him for disrespect. During a parent-teacher meeting, his mother explained to him why he should never again disrespect his teacher.
“Today, on the contrary, if a teacher does something like that, the next day either one or both parents will reproach the teacher because the ‘experts’ say that children should not be corrected in that way,” he said. “It is evident
“It is evident that this approach is not good,” the Pope said. “It is not harmonious, it is not dialogical, and rather than favoring the collaboration between families and other educational agents, it opposes them to one another.”
The Educational Mission of the Family
Regarding the role of the Church, Pope Francis stressed that the mission of the Christian community is to provide support to the educational mission of the family, particularly in the “light of the Word of God.”
“Even the best families need support and so much patience!” he exclaimed. “That is how life is! Life is not made in a laboratory, it is made in reality.”
Good family education is the backbone of humanism. Its influence is the social resource that allows you to make up for the drawbacks, the wounds, the gaps of parenthood that affect less fortunate children. This influence can do real miracles. And in the Church these miracles happen every day.”
Concluding his address, Pope Francis expressed his hope that the Lord will grant families the faith, freedom and courage that is necessary to their mission. “It is time for fathers and mothers to return from their exile, because they have self-exiled from the education of their children, and to fully reassume their educational role,” he said.