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Pope tells separated couples not to take their children ‘hostage’

Pope Francis spoke about families today (PA)

Separated couples faced many difficulties, the Pope told the General Audience today, calling on them to “never, never, never take the children hostage!”

Pope Francis was speaking on the role of parents in the education of their children, calling it “an essential characteristic” of the family.

In his catechesis he also criticised “intellectual critics” and “so-called experts” who have taken the place of parents, “even in the most delicate and personal aspects of their lives”. He added that “parents often are afraid to correct their children”.

Pope Francis recalled that as a child he had one said a rude word to his teacher and his mother had come to the school and forced him to apologise. This would never happen now, he said, and the rupture between parents and teachers is bad for parents.

“It is evident that this approach is not good,” the Pope said. “It is not harmonious, it is not dialogical, and rather than favouring the collaboration between families and other educational agents, it opposes them to one another.”

Christian communities, on the other hand, “are called to offer support for the educational mission of families – and they do so above all with the light of the Word of God.”

Pope Francis noted how the relations between parents and children, described by St Paul, are rooted in love, which is the gift of God. “Even in the best families there is need of support, and great patience,” he said.