Responding to questions from priests and seminarians, Francis speaks of marriage as "the most beautiful thing that God has created". "There is a great sin against ecumenism: proselytism. Never should we engage in proselytizing the Orthodox. "
Tbilisi (AsiaNews) - There is "now a world war to destroy the marriage", not waged with weapons, but "with ideas" and the "great enemy" of marriage is gender theory said Pope Francis in the first afternoon appointment today in Tbilisi, Georgia, dedicated to the meeting with priests, religious men and women. There was no prepared speech at this meeting, it was a question and answer session, which enabled Francis to touch on topics such as family, the “female” Church and ecumenism which should "never attempt to convert the Orthodox."
"Marriage - he said - is the most beautiful thing that God created. The Bible tells us that God created 'man and woman he created them in His image'. That is, man and woman are one flesh is the image of God". In marriage there are difficulties, misunderstandings, temptations. Often we want to solve these difficulties with divorce. But “who pays the price of divorce? Not just two people more! God pays, because when you get divorced from one flesh, the image of God is soiled. And the children pay, the children. You do not know, dear brothers and sisters, you do not know how children suffer, young children, when they see the fights and separation of parents. You must do everything to save the marriage. But it is normal that in marriage you quarrel: yes, it's normal. It's normal. It happens. Sometimes dishes fly. But if it is true love, there, peace is made immediately. I advise couples: fight all you want; argue all you want. But never end the day without making peace. Do you know why? Because continuing the cold war the next day is very dangerous. "
"How many marriages - he continued – could we save if there was the courage, at the end of the day, not to make a speech, but give a caress, and make peace. But it is true, there are more complex situations, when the devil gets involved and puts a woman in front of the man who looks more beautiful than his, or when he outs a man in front of a woman who seems smarter than hers. Ask for help right away. When this temptation arrives, ask for help right away. And how do we help couples? We help them by welcoming them, closeness, accompaniment, discernment and integration into the body of the Church. Welcome, accompany, discern and integrate. Welcome . Accompany. Discern. Integrate. In the Catholic community must help save marriages ".
The Pope then spoke of the darkest moments in life. We consecrated - he said – “have dark moments. When it seems that nothing moves forward, when there are difficulties of living in the community, in the diocese ... In those moments what you have to do is stop. Remember. Remember the time when I have been touched by the Holy Spirit ". "The perseverance in vocation is rooted in the caress of memory that the Lord has told us: 'Come. Come with me'. And this is what I advise all you consecrated: no turning back, when there are difficulties. And if you look back: the memory of that moment. That alone. And so faith remains firm, vocation remains steadfast ... But with our weakness, with our sins ... we are all sinners and we all need to confess ... But the mercy and love of Jesus is greater than our sins " .
Pope Francis then spoke of "an open church, which does not close in on itself, that is a church for all, a mother church - the mother is like this. There are two women that Jesus wanted for all of us: his mother and his wife. Both are alike. The mother is the mother of Jesus, and he left her as our mother. The Church is the bride of Jesus and is also our mother. With the Mother Church and the Mother Mary you can go forward confident. And there we find the woman again. It seems that the Lord has a preference to carry on the faith in women. Mary, the Holy Mother of God; the Church, the Holy Bride of God ... is the grandmother, the mother who gave us faith. It will be Mary, it will be the Church, it will be the grandmother, it will be the mother, it will be the grandmother to defend the faith. Your ancient monks said this, listen well: 'When there is spiritual turmoil, we must take refuge under the mantle of the Holy Mother of God'. And Mary is the model of the Church ... because the church is a woman, and Mary is a woman”.
Finally, he addressed the issue of ecumenism: "Never fight! Let the theologians study the abstract things of theology ... What do I do with a friend, a neighbor, an Orthodox person? Be open, be a friend. But do I force them to convert? There is a great sin against ecumenism: proselytism. Never should you engage in proselytizing the Orthodox! They are our brothers and sisters, disciples of Jesus Christ. We have become this way because of complex historical situations. Both they and we believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; we believe in the Holy Mother of God. And what do I do? Do not condemn! No, I can not .. Friendship, walk together, pray for each other. Pray and do charity work together, when you can. This is ecumenism. But never condemn a brother or a sister, never say goodbye because he is orthodox. "
Francis also spoke about charity in the festive meeting with the assisted and operators of the Charitable Camillian Center. A moment of dance and song that involved all even some of the guests.
"Your activities - the Pope told them - is a way of fraternal cooperation among Christians of this country and among the faithful of different rites. This meeting in the sign of evangelical charity is witness of communion and promotes the path of unity. I encourage you to continue on this demanding and fruitful path: the poor and weak people are the 'body of Christ' belonging to Christians of all denominations, urging them to act without personal interests, but only by following the promptings of the Holy Spirit ".
"The initiatives of charity are the mature fruit of a Church that serves, offering hope and that shows the mercy of God. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, your mission is great! Continue to live charity in the Church and to manifest it in the whole society with the enthusiasm of love that comes from God".