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‘Never Insult Your Parents! Your Mother… Father! They Gave You Life,’ Pope Insists at General Audience

Notes Parents May Not Be Perfect, Childhood May Not Have Been Serene, But Still Honor Your Mother & Father

Never insult your parents! Your mother. Your father. They gave you life!

Pope Francis deviated from his prepared text to stress this, during his Sept. 19, 2018, weekly General Audience in a cloudy St. Peter’s Square.

Continuing his series of catecheses on the Commandments, this week the Pope reflected on the Fourth Commandment: “Honor your mother and father.” Reflecting on what constitutes ‘honor,’ the Pope said: “To honor one’s father and mother means to recognize their importance also with concrete acts which express dedication, affection and care. But there is more to it than just this.”

Reminding of the full phrase related to the Commandment in Deuteronomy: “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Dt 5:16), Pope Francis said that “honoring parents brings you a long and happy life.”

In his reflection, the Pope observed that the Commandment does not speak about the goodness or merit of parents.

“It does not speak about the goodness of the parents, it does not require that fathers and mothers are perfect. It speaks of an act of children,  aside from the the merits of parents,” he noted, saying, “It says to us something extraordinary and freeing: even if not all parents are good and not all childhoods are serene, all children should be happy, because the reaching of a full and happy life depends on the just recognition toward those who gave us the world.”

Pope Francis deviated from his prepared remarks to say that if children have distanced from their parents, “return.” He also added that children should never insult or curse against their parents: “Never insult your parents! Your mother, your father. They gave you life!”

Pope Francis concluded, saying: “This marvelous life is offered to us, it is not imposed: “to be reborn in Christ is a grace to freely welcome, and is the treasure of our Baptism, in which, through the work of the Holy Spirit, one there is of our Father, the One in heaven.”

About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, and EWTN. For 'The Other Francis': or

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