Pope Francis reflects on the meaning of the fourth commandment in General Audience

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Pope Francis reflected on the fourth commandment, “honor your father and your mother,” during his Wednesday audience. 

The Pope says that this commandment extends not only to family members, but to all those from older generations. He says that the “honor due to the elderly must never be forgotten regardless of their physical or mental condition,” and that all people must give the elderly the special form of love that they so deserve.


Dear brothers and sisters,

With the help of the Word of God, we focus today on the fragility of old age. While reminders of our fragility can occur at any point in life, it seems that they only provoke a strong reaction when they happen to young people.

In this regard, our common experience envisions love as something “descending,” a gift freely given by parents and the elderly to younger generations. Divine revelation, however, shows us another way of loving: honoring those who came before us.

This special love was made sacred by God through its inclusion in the Ten Commandments. The commandment is not limited to just one’s own father or mother but extends to all the generations that came before us.

The honor due to the elderly must never be forgotten regardless of their physical or mental condition, as today’s Scripture passage from the Book of Sirach reminds us.

This lesson is also evident in the way that Noah was treated by his children after he had too much to drink. Amid all the present-day resources dedicated to the care of the elderly, we must always strive to offer them that special form of love, that honor, which is due to them.

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from England, Myanmar and the United States of America. In the joy of the Risen Christ, I invoke upon you and your families the loving mercy of God our Father.

May the Lord bless you all!

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