Domestic violence kills freedom and suffocates life, says Pope
At the general audience Francis warns against possessiveness in relationships. Addressing Polish pilgrims, he compares Operation Reinhardt - one of the black pages of the Shoah - to today's massacres in Ukraine. "We ask the Immaculate Conception to be a comfort to those who are tried by the brutality of war".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Possessiveness is the enemy of good and kills affection: the many cases of violence in the domestic sphere, of which we unfortunately have frequent news reports, almost always arise from the claim to possess the affection of the other, from the search for absolute security that kills freedom and suffocates life, making it a hell," said Pope Francis today, addressing the faithful in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall during the customary Wednesday general audience.
Continuing the cycle of catechesis dedicated to discernment, the pope dwelt on the theme of the rightness of our decisions. "Time," he explained, "is a fundamental criterion for recognising the voice of God in the midst of so many other voices. One of the hallmarks of the good spirit is that it communicates a peace that lasts'.
The pontiff dwelt in particular on some aspects that help to read the time following the decision as a possible confirmation of its goodness. First of all, the fact that a decision is seen as 'a possible sign of response to the Lord's love and generosity towards me. It is not born out of fear, emotional blackmail or compulsion, but out of gratitude for the good received, which moves the heart to live the relationship with the Lord with liberality'. Then "the awareness of feeling one's place in life and part of a greater plan, to which one wishes to offer one's contribution".
Another important sign is to "remain free with regard to what has been decided, willing to question it, even to renounce it in the face of possible denials, seeking to find in them a possible teaching of the Lord. This is not because He wants to deprive us of what is dear to us, but to live it with freedom, without attachment'. Only God knows what is truly good for us".
"We can only love in freedom," the Pope continued, "which is why the Lord created us free, free even to say no to Him. Offering Him what we hold most dear is in our interest, it allows us to live it in the best possible way and in truth, as a gift He has given us, as a sign of His gratuitous goodness, knowing that our life, as well as the whole of history, is in His benevolent hands".
This is the most authentic sense of what the Bible calls the fear of God, that "respect that drives out all other fears, because it is oriented towards the One who is Lord of all things". "Recognising this," Francis concluded, "is fundamental for a good decision, and reassures us about what we cannot control or foresee: health, the future, loved ones, our plans.
Turning then to the Polish pilgrims, Francis cited the initiative of the Centre for Catholic-Jewish Relations at the Catholic University of Lublin, which on Monday commemorated the anniversary of "Operation Reinhardt", the Nazi barbarity within the Shoah that between July and October 1942 in Poland caused the extermination of almost two million victims, mostly of Jewish origin.
"May the memory of this horrible event," the Pope commented, "arouse in everyone intentions and actions for peace. And history repeats itself. Let us see what is happening today in Ukraine'.
Finally, Pope Francis also invited to live the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception that falls tomorrow by invoking peace: "With your gaze turned to the Virgin Mary," he said, "always be bold in promoting the values of the spirit. To her, our sweetest mother, we ask to be a comfort for all those who are tried by the brutality of war, especially for the martyred Ukraine. Let us pray for this martyred people, who are suffering so greatly."