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Pope Francis greeted a child as he arrived to lead his general audience Oct. 31 in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican.
Pope Francis greeted a child as he arrived to lead his general audience Oct. 31 in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican.
Photo Credit: Stefano Rellandini | Reuters

POPE’S MESSAGE | Fidelity is for every vocation, not just marriage

VATICAN CITY — The Sixth Commandment’s mandate against adultery is a call to fidelity that applies not only to married couples, but to all Christians called to love others through their vocations, Pope Francis said.

Married men and women, priests and religious women and men are ultimately called to live out their vocation faithfully and follow the “path of love that goes from receiving care to the ability to offer care, from receiving life to the ability to give life,” the pope said Oct. 31 at his weekly general audience.

“Every Christian vocation is spousal because it is the fruit of the bond of love in which we are all renewed, the bond of love with Christ,” he said. “Starting from (Christ’s) fidelity, His tenderness, His generosity, we look with faith at marriage and at every vocation, and we understand the full meaning of sexuality.”

The pope continued his series of talks on the Ten Commandments, reflecting on the command, “Thou shall not commit adultery,” which he described as a “call to love that is manifested in fidelity, acceptance and mercy.”

While the commandment refers to fidelity in marriage, the pope said it isn’t only addressed to spouses but is a “paternal word of God addressed to every man and woman.”

Being mature means taking “upon oneself someone else’s burden and to love without ambiguity,” he said.

On the other hand, the pope said, adulterers and the unfaithful are “immature” people who interpret situations according to their “well-being and satisfaction.”

“In order to be married, it’s not enough to celebrate the wedding! We need to make a journey from the ‘I’ to the ‘we,’ from thinking for yourself to thinking for two, from living by yourself to living with another person,” the pope said. “It is a beautiful path; when we decentralize ourselves, then every act is spousal.”

Priests and people who live chaste consecrated lives, he said, must also follow this path and live it “faithfully and joyfully as a spousal and fruitful relationship of motherhood and fatherhood.”

“The Church does not need aspirants to the role of priests, but rather men whose hearts have been touched by the Holy Spirit with an unreserved love for the bride of Christ,” Pope Francis said. “In the priesthood, we love the people of God with all the paternity, tenderness and strength of a spouse and a father.”

Pope Francis said that the call to not commit adultery is a reminder of the Christian duty to love as Christ loves and to respect one another.

“The human body is not an instrument of pleasure but the place of our call to love,” the pope said. “And in authentic love, there is no room for lust and its superficiality. Men and women deserve more!”

Nations are built by migrants, pope says

VATICAN CITY — Countries don’t develop by themselves; they are built by migrants, Pope Francis said.

And migrants often choose to travel to a new land in a group, like those currently traveling through Central America and heading to the border between the U.S. and Mexico, he added, in off-the-cuff remarks Oct. 29 to a group of Scalabrinian Missionaries.

The missionaries, who were in Rome for their general chapter meeting, minister to migrants, refugees and displaced persons.

The pope thanked them for the work they do, noting the biblical mandate for “welcoming the stranger” and the importance of knowing how to do that act of charity well.

“It is true that today there is a surge in being closed to the stranger and there are also many situations of trafficking of foreign people; the foreigner is exploited,” he said.

The pope described his home country of Argentina as “a cocktail of waves of migration.”

Recalling how many migrants were well -eceived where his father worked after the Second World War, “Argentina has experience in welcoming because there was work and there was also a need.”

“Because migrants build a country, just like they built Europe. Because Europe was not born just like that. Europe was made by many waves of migrants over the centuries,” he said.

The importance of community, he told the religious institute, can be seen in how often migrants make their journey together as a group, like “the caravan that is going from Honduras to the United States.”

“Sometimes (a migrant) has to go alone, but it is normal to stick together, because we feel stronger” that way during the journey “and that is where the community is,” he said.

— Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

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