November 3, 2014

VATICAN CITY – The family is under attack now more than ever because of today's culture of division that wants to break from and be free of all everlasting bonds and forms of solidarity, Pope Francis said.

"Talking about problems of the family, for example, bonds are being destroyed, instead of created. Why? Because we are living in a culture of the provisional, of conflict, of the inability to make alliances," he said.

What is needed is a Church and Christians who are willing to "waste time" on people, not just principles, and accompany face-to-face those needing to discover the truth in Jesus Christ, he said.

The pope's comments came during an encounter with about 8,000 lay members of the international Schonstatt movement Oct. 25 in the Vatican audience hall.

Representatives asked the pope five questions, including how to help strengthen families.

Pope Francis responded that he believes "the Christian family, the family, marriage have never been attacked as much as they are right now."

The family is "beaten and the family is bastardized" and debased, since almost anything is being called a family, he said.

The family faces a crisis "because it is being bludgeoned by all sides, leaving it very wounded," he said. There is no other choice than to go to the family's aid and give them personal help.

People must also be accompanied "and this also means wasting time. The greatest master of wasting time is Jesus. He wasted time accompanying, to help consciences mature, to heal the wounds, to teach," the pope said.


The sacrament of Matrimony is becoming just a ceremony or social event for some people, who do not see its sacramental nature as a union with God, he said. Part of the problem is a lack of formation for engaged couples. "This is a sin of omission on our part."

But there also is the problem of a culture that is shortsighted, where everything is temporary or "provisional," he said, and "forever has been forgotten."

Pope Francis said he sees the same thing even in his own family with couples living together "part time: Monday through Friday with my girlfriend and Friday to Sunday with my family.

"They are new forms, totally destructive and limiting of the greatness of the love of marriage."

When asked about the best way to share the faith with others, the pope said going out into the world and living as true witnesses of Christ and his message is the only way.

"There is no other way. To live in a way that others become interested and ask, 'Why?' This is witness," he said.


Everyone is weak, makes mistakes, has problems, the pope said. "We don't always give a good witness; but the ability to become humble inside, to ask for forgiveness" is part of being a good Christian.