Pope Francis: ‘The Human Family Is Built Upon Mothers’

A mother carries a baby carriage as Italian and Belarus flags wave in central Minsk on November 30, 2009. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi arrived in Belarus on Monday, making the first visit by a Western leader in 15 years to the country once dubbed 'Europe's last dictatorship.' AFP PHOTO …
VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty

Pope Francis focused on the importance of motherhood in his New Year’s Day homily, insisting that humanity cannot move forward without rediscovering the gift of maternity.

“A world that looks to the future without a mother’s gaze is shortsighted,” the pope told the thousands gathered in Saint Peter’s Basilica for the Mass commemorating the Catholic feast of Mary, Mother of God.

Without a mother’s vision, the world “may well increase its profits, but it will no longer see others as children. It will make money, but not for everyone. We will all dwell in the same house, but not as brothers and sisters,” Francis said.

“The human family is built upon mothers,” he said. “A world in which maternal tenderness is dismissed as mere sentiment may be rich materially, but poor where the future is concerned.”

From the outset of his pontificate in 2013, Pope Francis has insisted upon the importance of both mothers and fathers as the basis for his rejection of same-sex marriage and gay adoption. He has also dismissed the ideology of gender fluidity, urging people to recognize that from the beginning, God made human beings “male and female.”

The pope has insisted that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, while declaring that the institution is undergoing a “serious crisis.”

Less than a week after Ireland’s 2015 passage of a gay marriage referendum, which the Vatican qualified as “a defeat for humanity,” Pope Francis stressed the indispensable role of mothers and fathers and said that when marriage is seen “as a mere form of emotional gratification,” it loses its value for society.

Marriage and the family, he said, “are going through a serious cultural crisis.” This doesn’t mean “they have lost importance,” he said, but rather “the need for them is more acutely felt.”

In his 2017 teaching letter on marriage and the family called “The Joy of Love” (Amoris Laetitia), Francis underlined the unique value of both motherhood and fatherhood, while denouncing the “legal deconstruction of the family” through the acceptance of same-sex marriage.

In that same letter, Francis condemned gender theory for its denial of “the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman,” and for its dream of “a society without sexual differences.”

“An appreciation of our body as male or female,” he said, is “necessary for our own self-awareness in an encounter with others different from ourselves.”

Efforts to cancel out sexual differences based in anatomy are a symptom of a sick society that “no longer knows how to deal with it,” he wrote.

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