Pope Francis spoke recently on marriage.
In the old days, he said, society was rather like a corner shop. “The products may not have been cleverly displayed or offered much choice, but there was a relationship between the shopkeeper and his customers,” Then came the giant supermarkets with a multitude of choices but leading to a breakdown of trust and neighbourly bonds.
“Today’s culture seems to encourage people not to relate with anything or anyone, not to trust,” He said. “Consuming relationships, consuming friendships, consuming religions, consuming, consuming: whatever the cost or consequences. A consumption which has little to do with human relationships.”
He then advised priests to resist the temptation to say things were better in the old days and be willing to engage people where they are, not blame them for the way things are today.
“Are today’s young people hopelessly timid, weak, and inconsistent? We must not fall into this trap,” Pope Francis said.
Mindful that the average age of marriage continues to rise and the number of children continues to drop in the United States and Europe, Francis reiterated his call for young people to have the courage to make long-term commitments, saying this was the way to true happiness.
“Many put off marriage while waiting for ideal conditions, when everything will be perfect. Meanwhile, life goes on, without really being lived to the full,” he said. “For knowledge of life’s true pleasures only comes as the fruit of a long-term, generous investment of our intelligence, enthusiasm, and passion.”
Looking up from his remarks, Francis joked that mothers could help by refusing to pamper their adult sons, a phenomenon especially prevalent in Italy. He recalled a mother saying to him, “My son is 34 years old and he’s not getting married. I don’t know what to do.” “I said, don’t iron his shirts anymore!”
“We have to encourage the youth to take that risk, to commit to marriage, because they need to move toward fruitfulness,”