Pope in General Audience: When there is no tenderness we become too serious and bitter

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After just little more than 12 hours have passed since his return to Rome from North Macedonia, Pope Francis was already at work again.

Shortly after 9 a.m. in the morning, he entered St. Peter's Square in the popemobile to greet all the pilgrims, especially these young ones.

As is usual every time he returns from an apostolic journey, Pope Francis dedicated his General Audience to remembering his visit to Bulgaria and North Macedonia. In Bulgaria he visited the throne of SS. Cyril and Methodius, two great evangelizers.

“Even today there is a need for passionate and creative evangelizers. This is so the Gospel may reach those who do not yet know it and may irrigate again the lands where ancient Christian roots have dried up.”

In North Macedonia, one of the most special moments for the pope was his visit to Skopje, the birthplace of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. There he was impressed by the tenderness of the Missionaries of Charity to the most needy.

“They do it with tenderness. Many times we Christians lose this dimension of tenderness. And when there is no tenderness we become too serious, too bitter. These sisters are sweet in tenderness and are charitable. They are charitable as it should be, without disguising it. However, when charity is done without tenderness and without love, it is as if we add a glass of vinegar to the works of charity.”

Pope Francis also noted how North Macedonia has received hundreds of refugees from the Middle East.

Before concluding his General Audience, the pope dedicated a few words in memory of Jean Vanier who recently died. Vanier founded the L'Arche communities, which is present in more than 30 countries. They take care of people with disabilities.

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