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Thou shalt not commit adultery

Catechesis by Pope Francis on the Commandments (1 of 2)
General Audience, Wednesday 24 October 2018 - in Arabic, Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
Our series of catecheses on the Commandments brings us today to the Sixth Word, which addresses the sentimental and sexual dimension, and states: “You shall not commit adultery”.

The immediate call is to fidelity, and indeed no human relationship is authentic without fidelity and loyalty.

One cannot love only as long as it is ‘convenient’; love is truly manifested beyond the threshold of one’s own personal advantage, when one gives unreservedly. As the Catechism states: “Love seeks to be definitive; it cannot be an arrangement ‘until further notice’” (n. 1646). Fidelity is an attribute of a free, mature and responsible human relationship. Friends, too, reveal themselves as authentic because they remain so in all circumstances, otherwise they are not friends. Christ reveals authentic love; the One who lives in the boundless love of the Father, is, on this strength, the faithful Friend who welcomes us even when we err, and who always wants good for us, even when we do not deserve it.

Human beings need to be loved unconditionally and those who do not receive this acceptance carry a certain incompleteness within themselves, often without knowing it. The human heart seeks to fill this void with surrogates, accepting compromises and mediocrity that have only a vague flavour of love. The risk is to call certain bitter and immature relationships ‘love’, with the illusion of finding the light of life in something that, at best, is merely a reflection of it.

Thus it can happen, for example, that one overestimates physical attraction, which is itself a gift from God, but aims to pave the way for an authentic and faithful relationship with the person. As Saint John Paul II used to say, the human being “is called to a full and mature spontaneity of relationships”, which is “the gradual fruit of discerning the impulses in one’s own heart”. It is something that is acquired, because every human being must “learn with determination and consistency what the body signifies” (cf. Catechesis, 12 November 1980).

The call to married life, therefore, requires a heartfelt discernment of the quality of the relationship and a period of engagement to confirm it. To approach the Sacrament of Marriage, the engaged couple must establish the certainty that the hand of God is in their bond and that he precedes and accompanies them and will enable them to say: With the Grace of Christ I promise to be faithful to you always. They cannot promise each other fidelity “in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health”, and to love and honour one another all the days of their lives, solely on the basis of good will or of the hope that it ‘will work out’. They need to ground themselves on the solid terrain of God’s faithful Love. And this is why, before receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony, there should be a careful preparation, I would say a catechumenate, because with love one’s entire life is at stake, and one does not kid around with love. Three or four meetings in the parish church cannot be defined as ‘marriage preparation’: no, this is not preparation: this is feigned preparation. And the responsibility falls on those who do this: on the parish priest, on the bishop who permits these things. The preparation must be mature and it takes time. It is not a formality: it is a Sacrament. But it must be prepared with a true catechumenate.

Indeed, fidelity is a way of being, a style of life. One works with loyalty, one speaks with sincerity, one remains faithful to the truth in one’s thoughts, in one’s actions. A life woven of fidelity is expressed in all dimensions and leads to being faithful and reliable men and women in every circumstance.

However, to achieve such a beautiful life, our human nature is not enough. God’s fidelity needs to enter our being, to infect us. This Sixth Word calls us to turn our gaze to Christ whose fidelity can remove from us an adulterous heart and give us a faithful heart. In him and only in him, is there love without reservations and second thoughts, absolute and unmitigated giving, and the tenacity of full acceptance.

From his death and resurrection comes our fidelity, from his unconditional love comes steadfastness in relationships. From communion with him, with the Father and with the Holy Spirit comes communion among us and the ability to live our bonds in fidelity."


"Je suis heureux de saluer les pèlerins venus de France et de divers pays francophones, en particulier des pèlerins de Rennes, Coutances et Bayeux-Lisieux, avec leurs évêques Mgr d’Ornellas, Mgr Le Boulc’h et Mgr Boulanger ; tous les jeunes présents, les membres de l’Aumônerie catholique Tamoule Indienne de France, du groupe Bayard Presse, du Mouvement Sève, ainsi que des pèlerins de Suisse et du Québec. En Jésus-Christ, et en lui seulement, se trouve l’amour sans réserves, le don total sans parenthèses, la persévérance de l’accueil jusqu’au bout. Que de la communion avec Lui, avec le Père et le Saint Esprit, puisse grandir la communion entre nous et le savoir-vivre dans la fidélité toujours! Que Dieu vous bénisse !

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from England, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Canada and the United States of America. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke the Lord’s blessings of joy and peace. God bless you!

Von Herzen grüße ich die Pilger deutscher Sprache, besonders die vielen Jugendlichen. Wo es Liebe unter uns gibt, wächst auch das Verständnis und die Vergebung. Der Herr segne euch und eure Lieben.

Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española provenientes de España y América Latina, y en especial a los participantes en el Encuentro sobre la doctrina social de la Iglesia, organizado por la Pontificia Universidad de la Santa Cruz. Pidamos a la Virgen María, Madre de Dios y madre nuestra, que nos ayude a todos, y de modo especial a los jóvenes, a saber descubrir y vivir la belleza del amor humano como una llamada a la entrega y a la donación total de sí mismos, libre de egoísmos y superficialidades. Que el Señor los bendiga. Muchas gracias.

Com grande afeto, saúdo os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, em particular os fiéis da diocese de Januária, acompanhados pelo seu Bispo José Moreira da Silva, e os fiéis da paróquia de Nossa Senhora de Fátima de Jundiaí. Vele sobre o vosso caminho a Virgem Maria e vos ajude a ser sinal de confiança e esperança no meio dos vossos irmãos. Sobre vós e vossas famílias desça a Bênção de Deus.

أرحب بمودة بالحاضرين الناطقين باللغة العربية، وخاصة بالقادمين من الأراضي المقدسة ومن الشرق الأوسط. "لا تزن" هي دعوة لحفظ الأمانة ولصون المحبة من جرح الخيانة. فوحده الحب المبني على صخرة الإيمان بالله، والثقة بالآخر، يستطيع أن يصمد أمام رياح التجارب، وأعاصير التقلبات المزاجية، وإغراءات العالم. فكلمة أحبك تحمل في ذاته، في الواقع، العهد بالأمانة الدائمة. ليبارككم الرب جميعا ويحرسكم من الشرير!

Witam polskich pielgrzymów. Pozdrawiam szczególnie profesorów i uczniów Liceum im. Norwida ze Stargardu, promotorów inicjatywy nazwanej „Kartka pokoju” – apelu o pokój, który zredagowali po solidnym studium nauczania Papieży XX i XXI wieku, i który z okazji 100-lecia niepodległości Polski zostanie rozesłany do przywódców wszystkich krajów świata. W przyszłą niedzielę Kościół w Polsce będzie obchodził X Dzień Solidarności z Kościołem Prześladowanym, organizowany przez Stowarzyszenie Pomoc Kościołowi w Potrzebie i Konferencję Episkopatu Polski. Pomoc materialna zostanie w tym roku przekazana chrześcijanom w Pakistanie. Dziękuję za te inicjatywy pokoju i solidarności. Niech Bóg wam błogosławi!

Od srca pozdravljam hrvatske hodočasnike, a osobito skupinu od jedanaestero biciklista koji su biciklima prešli put od 1160 km od Zagreba do Rima. Dobri ste! Zahvaljujem vam na ovom svjedočanstvu vjere i odanosti Petrovu Nasljedniku. Hvaljen Isus i Marija!

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Rivolgo un cordiale benvenuto ai pellegrini di lingua italiana. Sono lieto di accogliere le Capitolari delle Piccole Suore degli anziani abbandonati e le Religiose partecipanti all’incontro promosso dall’Unione Superiore Maggiori d’Italia (USMI).

Saluto i gruppi parrocchiali; i giovani della Diocesi di Faenza-Modigliana, con il vescovo Monsignor Mario Toso; il pellegrinaggio delle Figlie dei Sacri Cuori di Gesù e Maria (Istituto Ravasco); il gruppo Emodializzati e trapiantati di Chioggia-Padova e gli Istituti scolastici, in particolare il Polo tecnico professionale di Lugo e l’Istituto comprensivo di Ripi.

I offer a special greeting to young people, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds. Dearest friends, Christ’s Gospel message does not ask us to do extraordinary things, but rather to allow God to act in our lives. He told us: “apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). Christian life is the encounter between our weakness and the strength of God’s grace that allows us to live daily a full and joyful life in which charity means doing everything with joy and humility, for the glory of God and for the good of mankind."

Catechesis by Pope Francis on the Commandments (2 of 2)
General Audience, Wednesday 31 October 2018 - in Arabic, Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
Today I would like to complete the catechesis on the Sixth Word of the Decalogue, “You shall not commit adultery”, highlighting that the faithful love of Christ is the light by which to live the beauty of human affection. Indeed, our sentimental dimension is a call to love that is manifested in fidelity, in welcoming, and in mercy. This is very important. How is love manifested? In fidelity, in welcoming, and in mercy.

It must not be forgotten however, that this Commandment refers explicitly to marital fidelity and therefore it is fitting that we reflect more deeply on its spousal significance. This Scripture passage, this passage from the Letter of Saint Paul is revolutionary! Considering the anthropology of that age, it is saying that a husband must love his wife as Christ loves the Church: it is a revolution! Perhaps in those times it was the most revolutionary thing that had been said about marriage. Always on the path of love. We can ask: to whom is this command of fidelity addressed? Only to spouses? In reality, this command is for everyone; it is a paternal Word of God addressed to every man and woman.

Let us remember that the journey of human maturation is the same path of love that goes from receiving care to being able to offer care, from receiving life to being able to give life. Becoming adult men and women means developing the spousal and parental aptitude which is expressed in life’s various situations, such as the ability to take someone else’s burden upon oneself, and to love him or her unambiguously. It is therefore the overall ability of a person who accepts reality and is ready to enter into a profound relationship with others.

Who then is the adulterer, the lustful, the unfaithful? It is an immature person who keeps his life to himself and interprets situations on the basis of his own wellbeing and his own gratification. Therefore, in order to get married, the wedding ceremony does not suffice! We must make the journey from I to we, from thinking alone to thinking together, from living alone to living together: it is a good journey; it is a beautiful journey. Once we succeed at decentralizing ourselves, all action is spousal: we work, we speak, we decide, we meet others with a welcoming and oblational attitude.

In this sense every Christian vocation — we can now expand the perspective further and say that in this sense every Christian vocation — is spousal. The priesthood is such because it is a call in Christ and in the Church, to serve the community with all the affection, the tangible care and the wisdom that the Lord gives us. The Church does not need people who aspire to the role of priests — no, we do not need them, it is better if they stay home —, rather we need men whose hearts are touched by the Holy Spirit with an unreserved love for the Bride of Christ. The priestly ministry means loving the People of God with all the paternal care, the tenderness and strength of a spouse and a father. Thus virginity consecrated in Christ is also lived with fidelity and with joy as a spousal and fruitful relationship of motherhood and fatherhood.

I repeat: every Christian vocation is spousal because it is the fruit of the bond of love in which we are all regenerated, a bond of love with Christ, as we were reminded by the passage from Paul that was read at the beginning. Starting from his fidelity, from his tenderness, from his generosity, we look to marriage and every vocation with faith, and we understand the full meaning of sexuality.

The human creature in his or her inseparable unity to the Spirit and to the body, and in the male and female polarity, is a very good reality which is destined to love and to be loved. The human body is not an instrument of pleasure, but the setting for our call to love, and there is no room for lust or superficiality in authentic love. Men and women deserve more than this!

Thus the Word, “You shall not commit adultery”, despite its negative form, directs us to our original call, that is, to the full and faithful spousal love which Jesus Christ revealed and gave to us (cf. Rom 12:1)."

Saluti :

"Je salue cordialement les pèlerins francophones, venus de France, de Suisse, en particulier les diocésains d’Evry, avec l’évêque, Mgr Michel Pansard, la Communauté de l’Arche de Montpellier ainsi que les jeunes de Metz, du Mans et de Lille. Chers amis, à la veille de la fête de la Toussaint, je vous invite à laisser grandir en vous le désir de marcher sur les chemins de la sainteté, pour la plus grande gloire de Dieu. Que Dieu vous bénisse !

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from England, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam and the United States of America. I thank the choirs for their praise of God in song. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke the Lord’s blessings of joy and peace. God bless you!

Sehr herzlich grüße ich alle Pilger deutscher Sprache, besonders die Schulleiter des Schulwerks der Diözese Augsburg. Lasst euch immer von der Liebe Christi führen, die das Licht ist, um die Schönheit der affektiven Dimension des Menschen in einer reifen und hingebungsvollen Haltung zu leben. Der Herr gebe euch die Gnade, immer mehr in der Treue zur Fülle seiner Liebe zu wachsen.

Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, en modo particular a los grupos provenientes de España y América Latina. Los animo a que, siguiendo el ejemplo de los santos, cuya solemnidad celebramos mañana, sean capaces de vivir su vocación con plenitud y fidelidad, en sintonía con ese amor nupcial que Jesucristo nos ha revelado y entregado como don. Muchas gracias.

Queridos peregrinos de língua portuguesa, especialmente os fiéis do Leme e do Rio de Janeiro, faço votos de que esta peregrinação reforce em vós a fé em Jesus Cristo, que chama cada homem e mulher a fazer dom de si mesmo ao próximo. Regressai aos vossos lares com a certeza de que o amor de Deus, derramado nos nossos corações pelo Espírito Santo, fará que nos tornemos sempre mais generosos! Que Deus abençoe a cada um de vós!

أرحب بمودة بالحاضرين الناطقين باللغة العربية، وخاصة بالقادمين من مصر ومن سوريا ومن الشرق الأوسط. إن وصية "لا تزن" تدعونا إلى الأمانة لعهودنا ولمحبتنا. فكل حب حقيقي يثمر التزاما اصيلا واحتراما للعهد مع من نحب. لذلك فخيانة المحب هي تعبير عن عدم النضح وعن الأنانية. لنصلي للرب كي يمنحنا جميعا هبة الأمانة سواء في الحياة الزوجية أو الكهنوتية أو الرهبانية. ليبارككم الرب جميعا ويحرسكم من الشرير!‏‏

Pozdrawiam serdecznie pielgrzymów polskich. Jutro przypada Uroczystość Wszystkich Świętych, a pojutrze Wspomnienie Wszystkich Wiernych Zmarłych. Nawiedzając groby naszych bliskich pamiętajmy, że mamy u Boga rzeszę świętych, którzy orędują w naszych potrzebach. Nie zapominajmy jednak, że wielu zmarłych także oczekuje naszego duchowego wsparcia. Wraz z Maryją, Królową Wszystkich Świętych, pamiętajmy o nich w naszych modlitwach, by zostali przyjęci do grona zbawionych w niebie. Niech święci pomogą nam stawać się świadkami Chrystusa i Jego Ewangelii wobec naszych braci. Nich będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus.

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Rivolgo un cordiale benvenuto ai pellegrini di lingua italiana. Sono lieto di accogliere le Capitolari delle Religiose di Maria Immacolata e i gruppi parrocchiali, specialmente quelli di Roma, Foggia e Sarno.

Saluto i partecipanti al pellegrinaggio promosso dall’Ordine Francescano Secolare d’Italia; il personale del 132° Reggimento Artiglieria Terrestre “Ariete”, di Maniago; i gruppi dell’Associazione nazionale Marinai d’Italia; la delegazione del network Aleteia e il gruppo sportivo non-vedenti di Vicenza.

I extend a special greeting to young people, to the elderly, to the sick and to newlyweds. Tomorrow we will celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints and the day after tomorrow the memorial of all the faithful departed. May the witness of faith of those who have preceded us strengthen in us the certainty that God accompanies each of us on life’s journey, he never abandons anyone to themselves and he wants all of us to be holy, as he is holy."