The summer heat has come to Rome, but it didn't stop thousands of pilgrims from coming to see Pope Francis during his general audience. The Pope energetically moved through St. Peter's Square, kissing children and waving to pilgrims. He even traded his hat.
Once again, the Pope focused his remarks on the family. This week he discussed a more difficult topic: how to cope with the death of a relative. He said that it was especially difficult when parents lose their children or when parents of small kids die.
"When a family in terrible mourning finds the strength to keep the faith and love that bind us to those who we love, it prevents death from taking everything. The darkness of death is faced with an intense labor of love.”
He explained that death doesn't seem natural and it is normal to be angry with God. However, the Pope added that because of the Resurrection of Christ, death doesn't have the final word.
"In this faith we can console ourselves and each other, knowing that the Lord has conquered death once and forever. Our loved ones have not disappeared in the darkness of nothingness. Hope assures us that they are in the good, strong hands of God.”
Death is even more incomprehensible when it's caused by hatred and indifference, said the Pope. He urged no one to accept hate and apathy as normal.
The Pope referred to refugees as an example of indifference. Saturday is a day of remembrance specifically for them. So the Pope called for their dignity to be respected. He also had another message.
"I invite all of you to ask for forgiveness for people and institutions who close the door to people who are searching for a home, who are searching for a family, who are searching for protection.”
Toward the end of his remarks, Pope Francis mentioned that he would be publishing his ecology encyclical tomorrow. He will call on people to be responsible as they care for Creation.