• Pope Francis Gave An Amazing Unscripted Speech On The Gift Of Family

    With the energy and heart of a spry grandfather, Pope Francis declared family “the most beautiful thing that God made” in Philadelphia Saturday evening.

    Though he came to the World Meeting of Families with a prepared script, he did not read more than a few sentences of his planned remarks. Instead, he spent some 15 minutes speaking “from the heart,” as his his preference in lower-pressure, friendlier surroundings — only this time, the in-person audience numbered somewhere around 1 million. (RELATED: Pope Francis Talks Jesus, The Devil And Immigration At A Harlem School)

    Francis’ message was the pinnacle of the weeklong Meeting, an international conference promoting the Catholic Church’s vision of the family that is held every three years. After hearing testimonies from families in different situations from around the world, and watching performances by musicians and dancers, the pope began by thanking them for the beauty of what they had done.

    “Beauty is good,” he told those in attendance. Speaking through his ever-present translator Msgr. Mark Miles, he explained: “All that is good, all that is true, all that is beautiful leads us to God. Because God is good, God is beautiful, God is true.” (RELATED: Pope Francis Met Little Sisters Of The Poor In Quiet Protest Of Obamacare)

    He went on to tell the story of a child who once asked him (“you know how kids ask difficult questions”) what God did when he existed before the creation of the world. His response, after some thought, was, “before creating the world, God loved! Because God is love.”

    Francis went on to eloquently summarize Catholic teaching on creation and the family: God’s love “was so big” that he created the world “to share that love with something outside of himself.” In his view, “the most beautiful thing that God made … was the family.”

    After all, he asked, “where did [God] send his son? To a palace? To a city? To a company? No, he sent him to a family!” (RELATED: At Lunch With Homeless (Not Congress), Pope Francis Highlights Jesus’ Poverty)

    The pope recognized that some could consider his optimism about the family groundless, since he is celibate. So he was quick to acknowledge the difficulties that can emerge in family life. “We can get in fights. Sometimes plates go flying. Children bring headaches.” He cracked a broad smile as he quipped, “and I won’t speak about mother-in-laws!”

    Despite these difficulties, Francis hailed the family as an integral element of any society, especially from generation to generation. “A people that doesn’t know how to look after children or grandparents is a people that has no future,” he said, “because it doesn’t have strength or the memory to go forward.”

    Likewise his final message to the assembled faithful: “Let’s look after the family, let’s protect the family, because it’s there that our future is!”

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