The head of the Roman Catholic Church urges couples to stay together, acknowledging that the pandemic has exacerbated some family problems.
Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic has made some family problems worse, Pope Francis encouraged married couples to seek help and always remember three key words in a marriage: “Please, thank you and sorry. “
Francis wrote a letter to married couples that was posted on Sunday, a Roman Catholic holiday commemorating Jesus’ family. It took place halfway through a year-long celebration of the family announced by Francis which is due to end in June with a large gathering in Rome.
In the letter, Francis said closures and quarantines have forced families to spend more time together. But he noted that such forced solidarity sometimes tested the patience of parents and siblings and in some cases led to hardship.
âThe pre-existing problems worsened, creating conflicts which in some cases became almost unbearable. Many have even experienced the breakdown of a relationship, âFrancis wrote.
He offered his support to these families and reminded parents that the breakdown of a marriage is especially difficult for children, who see their parents as a constant source of stability, love, trust and strength.
âThe breakdown of a marriage causes immense suffering, as many hopes are dashed and misunderstandings can lead to arguments and hard-to-heal wounds,â Francis wrote.
âChildren end up suffering the pain of seeing their parents no longer be together. “
He urged parents to continue to seek help in trying to overcome conflict, including through prayer. âAlso remember that forgiveness heals every wound,â he said.
He repeated a refrain he used often in meetings with families and married couples, listing the three most important words in a marriage: âPlease, thank you and sorry. “
âAfter every argument, don’t let the day end without making peace,â he wrote.
FranÃ§ois deplores the drop in the birth rate
Also on Sunday, in his weekly address to St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis lamented the fall in the birth rate in Italy, warning that the drop posed a threat to the country’s future.
Births in Italy last year hit their lowest level since the nation’s unification in 1861, the national statistics office said this month, with the figure declining for the 12th year in a row.
âThe demographic winter is a real worry, at least here in Italy,â the Pope said.
âIt seems that a lot of people have lost the desire to have children. Many couples prefer to be childless or have only one child. â¦ It is a tragedyâ¦ which goes against our families, our country and our future, âhe added.
There were 404,892 births in Italy last year, ISTAT’s statistics office said, down 15,192 from 2019. There were 746,146 deaths in 2020 as the population fell. to 59.3 million.
ISTAT said the decline in births continued this year, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic appeared to be a factor in the decline.