In an address to bishops of Puerto Rico today, Pope Francis affirmed the beauty of marriage and the complementarity of man and woman, saying the “differences between man and woman are not for opposition or subordination, but for communion and generation.”
The Pope met the bishops for their five-yearly ad limina apostolorum visit.
He told them that given the “magnitude” of the problems faced by pastors, “a bishop needs to take recourse not only to prayer, but also to friendship and the fraternal help of his brothers in the episcopate.”
“Do not waste energies in divisions and confrontations, but build and collaborate,” he said, adding that they must be able to distance themselves from particular political tendencies.
“Because of her mission, the Church is not linked to any political system, in order to be able to be always the ‘sign and safeguard of the transcendent character of the human person.'”
Encouraging the bishops to be close to their priests, the Pontiff stressed that both bishops and priests must be “faithful servants of God’s forgiveness.”
He said the upcoming Jubilee of Mercy, which will begin Dec. 8, will be a time to stress the sacrament of reconciliation, “which enables one to experience in one’s own flesh the love of God and to offer each penitent the source of true interior peace.”
The Holy Father emphasized the need to focus on family ministry, “given the serious social problems that afflict it: the difficult economic situation, emigration, domestic violence, unemployment, drug trafficking and corruption.”
In this context, he said, “Allow me to call your attention to the value and beauty of marriage.”
He said: “The complementarity of man and woman, summit of divine creation, is being questioned by the so-called gender ideology, in the name of a more free and just society. The differences between man and woman are not for opposition or subordination, but for communion and generation, always in the ‘image and likeness’ of God. Without mutual self-giving, neither one can understand the other in depth (cf. General Audience, April 15, 2015). The Sacrament of Marriage is a sign of the love of God for humanity and of Christ’s giving himself for his Bride, the Church. Look after this treasure, one of the ‘most important of the Latin American and Caribbean peoples’ (Aparecida, 433).”
Of Puerto Rico’s some 3.6 million people, about 85% are Roman Catholic.
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text: <a href=”http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-address-to-puerto-rican-bishops”>http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-address-to-puerto-rican-bishops