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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis at General Audience: God isn't tyrant who imposes rules on people to subdue them

It was already hot at 9:30 a.m. in the Eternal City, but not even the intense Roman sun is capable of reducing pilgrims' enthusiasm for seeing the pope. 

As usual, the Holy Father dedicated the first stop on his trip in the popemobile to the infants, and later, he enjoyed a bit of mate offered to him by these Argentinian pilgrims. 

The morning was harsher on some babies than others. 

Pope Francis continued his catechesis series on the Commandments. He explained that the Commandments are not an order, but rather a dialogue that God holds with human beings. 

“Two people who don't love each other aren't able to communicate. When someone speaks to our heart, it ends our loneliness. It receives a word, producing communication. The Commandments are the words of God. God communicates through these 10 words and awaits our response.”

Thus, Pope Francis said the Commandments allow God to protect mankind, not to subdue it, because God is a Father, not the owner of human beings. To clarify the idea even more, the pope recalled an example from the Bible. 

“The challenge is exactly this: the first rule that God gave man, is it the imposition of a tyrant who prohibits and forces, or is it the notice of a father who cares for his little ones and protects them from self-destruction? Is it a word or is it an order? The most tragic lie told by the serpent to Eve is the suggestion of an envious divinity – “God envies you all” – and of a possessive divinity – “God doesn't want you all to be free.” The facts dramatically show that the serpent lied.”

In that way, the Holy Father insisted the Commandments are not laws or impositions, but rather the path to reach true freedom, because human beings are children of God, not subjects.

“The Commandments are the path to freedom because they're the word of the Father who allows us to be free on this path. A spirit of slavery can only accept the Law as oppressive, producing two opposite results: either a life of chores and obligations, or a violent reaction of rejection.”

To conclude, Pope Francis warned against living for the law, because Christians who live as slaves and not children cannot offer an authentic testimony. 

Before leaving, the pope was presented with these spectacular acrobatics, which he praised, assuring the beauty of the efforts also bring people closer to God.