Catechesis of the Holy Father
Greetings in various languages
This morning’s General Audience took place at 9.20 a.m. in Saint Peter’s Square, where the Holy Father Francis met with groups of pilgrims and faithful from Italy and all over the world.
In his address in Italian the Pope continued his catechesis on the Commandments, focusing on the theme Do not kill (Bible passage: from the Book of Wisdom, 11, 24-26).
After summarising his catechesis in several languages, the Holy Father addressed special greetings to the groups of faithful present.
The General Audience concluded with the recital of the Pater Noster and the Apostolic Blessing.
Catechesis of the Holy Father
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today’s catechesis is dedicated to the Fifth Word: do not kill. The fifth commandment: thou shall not kill. We are already in the second part of the Decalogue, which regards relations with others; and this commandment, with its concise and categorical formulation, rises up like a wall of defence of the basic value in human relations. And what is the basic value in human relations? The value of life. Therefore, do not kill.
It could be said that all the evil enacted in the world is summarized in this: disregard for life. Life is assaulted by wars, by organizations that exploit man – there are many things we read in the newspapers or see on the television news –, by speculation on creation and by the throwaway culture, and by all the systems the submit human existence to opportunistic calculations, while a scandalous number of people live in a state unworthy of man. This is disregard for life, which is in a sense to kill.
A contradictory approach also permits the suppression of human life in the maternal womb in the name of safeguarding other rights. But how can an act that suppresses innocent and defenceless budding human life be therapeutic, civil or simply human? I ask you: it is right to do away with a human life to solve a problem? Is it right to hire a hitman to solve a problem? One cannot do this, it is not right to do away with a human being, albeit small, to solve a problem. It is like hiring a hitman to solve a problem.
Where does all this come from? Where do violence and the refusal of life come from? From fear. Indeed, the acceptance of the other is a challenge to individualism. Let us think, for example, of when we discover that a nascent life is the bearer of a disability, even a serious one. The parents, in these dramatic cases, need true closeness, true solidarity, to face reality overcoming the understandable fears. Instead, they often receive hasty advice to interrupt the pregnancy, which is a figure of speech: “interrupt the pregnancy” means to “do away with” someone, directly.
A sick child is like any other person in need on earth, like an elderly person who is in need of assistance, like so many poor people who struggle to get by: he or she who is presented as a problem is in reality a gift from God, who can draw us out of our selfishness and make us grow in love. Vulnerable life indicates to us the way out, the way to save ourselves from an existence in which we are wrapped up in ourselves, and to discover the joy of love. And here I would like to pause a moment to give thanks. to thank the many volunteers, to thank the strong Italian volunteer sector, which is the strongest I have ever known. Thank you.
And what leads man to refuse life? They are the idols of this world: money – it is best to get rid of this, because it will cost us –, power, and success. These are erroneous parameters for valuing life. What is the only authentic measure of life? It is love, the love with which God loves it! The love with which God loves life: this is the measure. The love with which God loves every human life.
Indeed, what is the positive meaning of the Word “Do not kill”? That God is the “lover of life”, as we heard a moment ago in the Bible reading.
The secret of life is unveiled by how it was treated by the Son of God Who made Himself man to the extent of assuming, on the cross, denial, weakness, poverty and pain (cf. Jn 13: 1). In every sick child, in every weak elderly person, in every desperate migrant, in every fragile and threatened life, Christ is looking for us (cf. Mt 25: 34-46), He is looking for our heart, to reveal to us the joy of love.
It is worth welcoming every life, because every many is worth the blood of Christ Himself (cf. I Pt 1: 18-19). One cannot disregard what God has loved so much!
We must say to the men and women of the world: do not disregard life! The life of others, but also one’s own, because the commandment “do not kill” applies also to this. It should be said to many young people: do not disregard your existence! Stop denying the work of God! You are a work of God! Do not underestimate yourself, do not disregard yourself with addictions that will ruin you and lead you to death!
Let no-one measure life according to the deceptions of this world, but let each person accept himself and others in the name of the Father Who created us. He is the “lover of life”: this is beautiful, “God is the lover of life”. And we are all so dear to Him, that He sent His Son for us. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3: 16).
 Cf. CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Istr. Donum vitae, 5: AAS 80 (1988), 76-77: “Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves "the creative action of God" (18) and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end.(19) God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can, in any circumstance, claim for himself the right to destroy directly an innocent human being”.
Greetings in various languages
I cordially greet Francophone pilgrims from France, Switzerland and Mauritius, in particular the dioceses of Vannes and Saint-Brieuc. Dear friends, never despise your existence, you are a work of God! Wherever you are, bear witness to the infinite value of human life in all its expressions! God bless you!
I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims taking part in today’s audience, particularly the groups from England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Canada, Curaçao and the United States of America. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you all!
I greet with greeting the German-speaking pilgrims, in particular the numerous young people, the school children of the Gauß-Gymnasium Gelsenkirchen, the Collegium Gaesdonck and the Liebfrauenschule Ratingen, and the participants in the information week of the Pontifical Swiss Guard. May the Lord bless you and accompany you on your path.
I cordially greet Spanish-speaking pilgrims, particularly the groups from Spain and Latin America. I encourage you to follow the example of Jesus, who came to give His life for us, so that we will know how to accept and protect our own life and that of others in the name of God the Father. Thank you very much.
Dear Portuguese-speaking pilgrims, I extend a cordial greeting to you all, in particular the faithful of the parish Nossa Senhora da Paz, of Rio de Janeiro. This month of October encourages us to persevere in the daily recitation of the Rosary, possibly with the family, so that the model of Mary may also be reflected in the domestic Church. The secret of her serenity and trust was found in this certainty: “Nothing is impossible for God”. May the Lord’s Blessing descend upon you and your families.
I cordially greet Arabic-speaking pilgrims, especially those from Egypt, Lebanon and the Middle East. Not killing is a divine commandment that confirms the sacredness of human life as a gift from God, which no-one under any circumstances has the right to remove or manipulate or despise. Killing is a sin against God, Who is the Lord of life, against ourselves, and against our neighbour. May the Lord bless you and protect you from the evil one!
I welcome the Polish pilgrims. Before coming to the square, I was able to greet the participants in the pilgrimage of the archdiocese of Krakow, who arrived in Rome for the fortieth anniversary of the election to the See of Peter of John Paul II. Now I wish to greet all of you here present, and your countrymen. Together with you, I thank Christ, the Lord of the times, who wished to call this great Pope from your land, and to entrust him with the task of introducing the Church into the new millennium. May his teaching, his example of holiness and his intercession, guide and protect our daily journey, sometimes difficult, on the Lord’s paths! I bless you from the heart!
I extend a cordial welcome to Italian-speaking pilgrims.
I am pleased to welcome the Friars Minor Conventual; the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception.
I greet the school children; the parishes, especially that of Minori, together with a delegation from Patti, with Archbishop Orazio Soricelli; and the delegation from Ostra Vetere; the National Olive Growers Consortium; the delegation of the Municipality of Cervia; the Chamber of Commerce of Viterbo; the Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Coordination Group; the AVIS Association of Catanzaro and the Bellegra Italian Red Cross.
I address a special thought to the young, the elderly, the sick and the newlyweds. The month of October is dedicated to the missions and prayer of the Holy Rosary. Dear friends, praying the Rosary, invoke the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary for your every need and for the Church, so that she may be ever more holy and missionary, united in walking the paths of the world and in bringing Christ to every man.