ROME — Pope Francis appealed to parents Wednesday to accompany their children with problems and never to condemn them.
Fear is a “part of life,” the pope said during his weekly general audience in the Vatican. “God does not promise us that we will never have fear, but that, with His help, it will not be the criterion for our decisions.”
I am thinking “of parents in the face of their children’s problems,” he said, “children with many illnesses, children who are sick, even with permanent maladies — how much pain is there! — parents who see different sexual orientations in their children; how to deal with this and accompany their children and not hide in an attitude of condemnation.”
“Never condemn a child,” he said.
In his litany of difficulties parents experience, he included those “who see their children leaving because of an illness” as well as “children who get into mischief and end up in a car accident.”
Then there are parents “who see their children not progressing in school and don’t know how… So many parental problems,” he said. “Let’s think about it: how to help them.”
The decision by Pope Francis to offer his tentative support for civil union laws for same-sex couples was praised Thursday by U.N. chief Antonio Guterres. https://t.co/3d7n6WctCL
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“And to these parents I say: don’t be scared. Yes, there is pain. A lot,” he said. “But think of the Lord, think about how Joseph solved the problems and ask Joseph to help you.”
God tries to speak to each of us, the pope said, but we need to be able to discern his voice in the midst of “many other voices.”
“For example, the voices of our fears, the voices of past experiences, the voices of hopes; and there is also the voice of the evil one who wants to deceive and confuse us,” he said. “It is therefore important to be able to recognise the voice of God in the midst of other voices.”
Francis also insisted that “the Lord never allows a problem to arise without also giving us the help we need to deal with it.”
“He does not cast us alone into the fire. He does not cast us among the beasts. No,” the pope said. “When the Lord shows us a problem, or reveals a problem, he always gives us the intuition, the help, his presence, to get out of it, to resolve it.”