The Francis Chronicles
Parents must not exclude themselves from their children's lives and, despite what some "experts" may say, they must take an active role in their children's education, said Pope Francis during his general audience Wednesday in St. Peter's Square.
"It's time for fathers and mothers to come out of their exile -- because they have exiled themselves from their children's education -- and to fully assume again their educational role," he said.
Everyone would do well to reflect on their "final farewell" from earthly life and on whether they are prepared to entrust themselves and all they will leave behind to God, said Pope Francis.
During a morning Mass Tuesday at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the pope reflected on the day's readings in which Jesus, after speaking to his disciples of his imminent departure for the Father, prays "the hour has come" (John 17:1-11a), and in which St. Paul gathers with the elders of Ephesus before leaving for Jerusalem (Acts 20:17-27).
Women can be appointed heads of some offices of the Roman Curia, Pope Francis said, but that will not be enough to "recover the role" women should have in the Catholic church.
"Women should be promoted," he said Saturday during an audience with an international group of men and women religious working in the diocese of Rome. But assigning a certain number of women to leadership positions is "simply functionalism," he said.
What is important is to ensure that women have a voice and are listened to, he said, because the church needs their specific contributions.
The closer two people are to each other, the more care is required in respecting the other's freedom and feelings, Pope Francis said.
Even Jesus knocks at the door of a person's heart awaiting permission to enter, he said Wednesday at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square.
"Intimacy does not authorize you to take everything for granted," he said, starting a series of audience talks he said would look at the "real life" of families today.
People must work together to protect life, Pope Francis said on Mother's Day, the day Italy celebrates its annual March For Life.
After praying the "Regina Coeli" at noon Sunday with people gathered in St. Peter's Square, the pope greeted all those who took part in the pro-life initiative that morning, saying "it is important to work together to defend and promote life."
Never let practice and competition get in the way of going to Mass, studying for school, being with friends and helping the poor, Pope Francis told an Italian sports association.
And never let Italy's infatuation with soccer -- like in the pope's native Argentina -- crowd out all the other sports, which are just as important for teaching kids the benefits of teamwork and sacrifice, he said Thursday.