Behind hatred, violence is an unloved heart, pope says at audience

IMAGE: CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Violence and hatred often are signs that a person is unhappy
and feels unloved and unwanted, Pope Francis said.

In today’s world, people — especially children and youths
— often feel that unless “we are strong, attractive and beautiful, no one
will care about us,” the pope said June 14 during his weekly general

“When an adolescent is not or does not feel loved, violence
can arise. Behind so many forms of social hate and hooliganism, there is often
a heart that has not been recognized,” he said.

Despite a heat wave that brought temperatures close to 90
degrees, an estimated 12,000 pilgrims donning colorful hats and umbrellas
cheered and waved as the pope entered St. Peter’s Square.

Pope Francis took a moment to greet the sick who were
watching the audience from
indoors because of
the hot Roman weather.

“They are in the Paul VI hall and we are here,”
the pope told the crowd in the square. “But we are all together; we are
connected by the Holy Spirit who always unites us.”

In his talk, the pope focused on the certainty of hope that
comes from feeling loved as children of God.

When men and women do not feel loved, he said, they run the
risk of succumbing to the “awful slavery” of believing that love is based
solely on one’s appearance or merits.

“Imagine a world where everyone begs for reasons to
attract the attention of others and no one is willing to love another person
freely,” he said.
“It seems like a human world but, in reality, it is a hell.”

Feelings of loneliness, he added, often lead to “man’s many
narcissisms” and can be conquered only by an “experience of love that has been
given and received.”

who never needs a reason to love his children, has that kind of unconditional
love for each person, the pope said. “God does not even bind his
benevolence to our conversion; if anything that is a consequence of God’s love.”

Recalling his time as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, the pope
said he saw God’s unconditional love reflected on the faces of mothers who went to the local
prison to visit their children.

“I remember so many mothers in my diocese who would get
in line to enter the prison. So many mothers who were not ashamed. Their child
was in prison, but
it was their child and they suffered so many humiliations, “the pope

“Only this love of a mother and father can help us
understand God’s love,” he said, adding that “no sin, no wrong choice
can ever erase it.”

Departing from his prepared remarks, Pope Francis asked the
crowd, “What is the medicine that can change an unhappy person?”

“Love!” the crowd exclaimed.

“Very good, very good,” the pope said. Christian hope comes from
knowing “God the father who loves us as we are. He always loves us,
everyone, good and bad.”

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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