In his speech in Italian, the Pope focused his meditation on the recently concluded Apostolic Journey to Ireland, on the occasion of the IX World Meeting of Families, (Biblical Song: from Psalm 128.1-6).
After having summarized His catechesis in several languages, the Holy Father addressed particular expressions of greeting to the groups of faithful present.
He then addressed an appeal on the occasion of the World Day of Prayer for the care of creation that occurs on Saturday, September 1.
The General Audience ended with the singing of the Pater Noster and the Apostolic Blessing.
Catechesis of the Holy Father
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Last weekend I took a trip to Ireland to take part in the World Meeting of Families: I'm sure you saw it on television. My presence wanted above all to confirm the Christian families in their vocation and mission. The thousands of families - spouses, grandparents, children - gathered in Dublin, with all the variety of their languages, cultures and experiences, have been an eloquent sign of the beauty of God's dream for the entire human family. And we know it: God's dream is unity, harmony and peace, in families and in the world, the fruit of fidelity, forgiveness and reconciliation that he has given us in Christ. He calls families to participate in this dream and make the world a home where nobody is alone, nobody is unwanted, nobody is excluded. Think about this: what God wants is that nobody is alone, nobody is unwanted, nobody is excluded. Thus the theme of this World Meeting was very appropriate. It was called this way: "The Gospel of the family, joy for the world".
I am grateful to the President of Ireland, the Prime Minister, the various governmental, civil and religious authorities, and to the many people of all levels who have helped prepare and carry out the events of the Meeting. And thank you very much to the Bishops, who have worked so hard. Addressing the Authorities, in the Castle of Dublin, I reiterated that the Church is a family of families, and that, like a body, it supports these cells in their indispensable role for the development of a fraternal and supportive society.
The true "light points" of these days were 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. How much does the world need of a revolution of love, of a revolution of tenderness, which saves us from the current culture of the provisional! And this revolution begins in the heart of the family.
In the Pro-Cathedral of Dublin I met spouses engaged in the Church and many couples of young married couples, and many young children. Then I met some families who face particular challenges and difficulties. Thanks to the Capuchin Friars, who are always close to the people, and to the wider ecclesial family, they experience solidarity and support that are the fruit of charity.
The highlight of my visit was the big party with the families, Saturday night, in the Dublin stadium, followed Sunday by Mass in the Phoenix Park. During the Vigil we heard very touching testimonies of families who suffered from wars, families renewed by forgiveness, families that love saved from the spiral of addictions, families who learned to use mobile phones and tablets well and give priority to the time spent together . And the value of communication between generations and the specific role of grandparents in consolidating family ties and transmitting the treasure of faith are highlighted. Today - it is hard to say - but it seems that grandparents are disturbing. In this culture of waste, grandparents are "discarded", they move away. But grandparents are wisdom, they are the memory of a people, the memory of families! And grandparents must transmit this memory to their grandchildren. Young people and children must talk with their grandparents to carry on the story. Please: do not discard grandparents. That they are close to your children, to the grandchildren.
On Sunday morning I made the pilgrimage to the Marian shrine of Knock, so dear to the Irish people. There, in the chapel built on the site of an apparition of the Virgin, I entrusted all families, particularly those of Ireland, to her maternal protection. And although my journey did not include a visit to Northern Ireland, I greeted his people cordially and encouraged the process of reconciliation, pacification, friendship, and ecumenical cooperation.
My visit to Ireland, in addition to great joy, also had to bear the pain and bitterness for the suffering caused in that country by various forms of abuse, even by members of the Church, and the fact that the ecclesiastical authorities in past have not always been able to deal appropriately with these crimes. A deep sign left the meeting with some survivors - they were eight -; and on several occasions I have asked the Lord for forgiveness for these sins, for the scandal and the sense of betrayal procured. The Irish Bishops have undertaken a serious path of purification and reconciliation with those who have suffered abuse, and with the help of national authorities have established a series of strict rules to ensure the safety of young people. And then, in my meeting with the Bishops, I encouraged them in their efforts to remedy the failures of the past with honesty and courage, trusting in the Lord's promises and counting on the profound faith of the Irish people, to inaugurate a season of renewal of the Church in Ireland. In Ireland there is faith, there are people of faith: a faith with great roots. But do you know something? There are few vocations to the priesthood. Why does this faith fail? For these problems, the scandals, many things ... We must pray for the Lord to send holy priests to Ireland, send new vocations. And we will do it together, praying an "Ave Maria" to the Madonna di Knock. [Recite of the Hail or Mary]. Lord Jesus, send us holy priests.
Dear brothers and sisters, the World Meeting of Families in Dublin 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 - so many! - who carry on their families, their children, with fidelity, asking for forgiveness when there are problems. We forget why today it is fashionable in magazines, in newspapers, to talk like this: "This has been divorced from this ... That from that ... And the separation ...". But please: this is a bad thing. It's true: I respect everyone, we must respect people, but the ideal is not divorce, the ideal is not separation, the ideal is not the destruction of the family. The ideal is the united family. So forward: this is ideal!
The next World Meeting of Families will be held in Rome in 2021. Let us entrust them all to the protection of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, because in their homes, parishes and communities they can truly be "joy for the world".
[01282-EN.02] [Original text: Italian]
Appeal of the Holy Father
Next Saturday, 1 September, is the fourth World Day of Prayer for the care of creation, which we celebrate in union with our Orthodox brothers and sisters and with the accession of other Churches and Christian Communities.
In this year's Message, I would like to draw attention to the question of water, a primary asset to be protected and made available to all.
I am grateful for the various initiatives that in various places the particular Churches, Institutes of consecrated life and ecclesial aggregations have prepared. I invite everyone to join in prayer, Saturday, for our common home, for the care of our common home.
[01292-EN.01] [Original text: Italian]