Pope Francis talked of the evil of showing contempt for the week in his homily on January 8, 2018, at Santa Marta House in the Vatican. He said this is the work of Satan, who has no compassion, according to Vatican News.
The Holy Father cited several examples from the Bible of people in a position of power demonstrating contempt for the weak:
- Samuel’s father, Elkanah, had two wives. Hannah was barren. Peninnah bore him several children. Peninnah scorned and humiliated Hannah on account of her infertility.
- Similar conflict rose between Abraham’s wives, Hagar and Sarah.
- Goliath ridiculed David.
- Both Job’s and Tobias’ wives belittled their suffering husbands.
The Pope mentioned a woman with mental illness in the neighborhood where he grew up, lamenting that children would tease and make fun of her.
“And today we see it constantly in our schools; the phenomenon of bullying, attacking the weak, because you’re fat or foreign, or because you’re black…” Pope Francis said. “Attacking and attacking… Children and young people, too. It wasn’t just Peninnah, Hagar, or the wives of Tobias and Job: even children. This means there is something within us that makes us act aggressively toward the weak.
“I ask myself: What is within these people? What is it within ourselves that pushes us to mock and mistreat others weaker than ourselves?” the Pope continued. “It is understandable when a person resents someone stronger than them, perhaps as a result of envy… but towards the weak? What makes us do that? It is something habitual as if I needed to ridicule another person in order to feel confident. As if it were a necessity…”
Pope Francis concluded by admitted that psychologists might have other explanations for the strong abusing the week, but he believes it is a “consequence of Original Sin. This is the work of Satan.”