Pope Francis said that while we respect everyone, in all their unique situations, including the divorced and separated, we must not forget that the ideal is the united family.
Francis stressed this during his weekly General Audience on Wednesday as he reflected on his Apostolic Visit to Ireland, for the occasion of the 9th World Meeting of Families in Dublin.
“I’m sure you’ve seen it on television,” Francis said, referring to his trip, noting he went to confirm the Christian families in their vocation and mission.
The World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Francis said, was a prophetic, comforting experience of many families engaged in the Gospel way of marriage and family life; families disciples and missionaries, ferment of goodness, holiness, justice and peace.
“We forget so many families that go on with faithfulness and courage. We forget it because today it is fashionable to talk about divorces and separations and this is a bad thing. I respect everything, but this is not ideal, the ideal is not separation, but a united family!”
The thousands of families – spouses, grandparents, children – gathered in Dublin, with all the variety of their languages, cultures and experiences, he noted, have been “an eloquent sign of the beauty of God’s dream for the entire human family.” We know that God’s dream is unity, harmony and peace, in families and in the world.
“In the mystery of his love, He calls families to participate in this dream and make the world a house where nobody is alone, nobody is unwanted, nobody is excluded, think well of this, what God wants is that nobody is alone, nobody is unwanted, nobody is excluded.”
Therefore, he said, the theme of this World Meeting was very appropriate: “The Gospel of the Family, Joy for the World.”
The Pope recalled the testimonies of conjugal love given by couples of all ages. “Their stories have reminded us that the love of marriage is a special gift from God, to be cultivated every day in the ‘domestic church’ that is the family.”
These couples, he noted, “also showed us how faith takes place in daily life, ‘around the table,’ and spreads its beauty in the great community of the Church and of society. How much the world needs a revolution of love, of tenderness!
“And this revolution begins in the heart of the family!”
The value of communication between generations and the specific role of grandparents in consolidating family ties and transmitting the treasure of faith, he noted, too, are so important.
The Pope recalled his pilgrimage Sunday morning to the Marian shrine of Knock,”so dear to the Irish people.” There, in the chapel built on the site of where there was the intricate Marian and Eucharistic apparition, also featuring St. Joseph, in 1879, the Pope said, he entrusted all families, particularly those of Ireland, to Mary’s maternal protection.
“Although my journey did not include a visit to Northern Ireland,” the Pope acknowledged, he expressed that he greeted the people there cordially and encouraged the process of reconciliation, pacification, friendship, and ecumenical cooperation.”
“The next World Meeting will be held here in Rome in 2021, get ready!” Pope Francis said, praying: “Let us entrust all families all to the protection of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, so that in their homes, parishes and communities, they can truly be ‘joy for the world.’”