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Pope Francis delivers his weekly general audience at the Vatican (CNS/Vatican News)

Continuing his catechetical series on vice and virtue, Pope Francis yesterday dedicated his general audience to highlighting the difference between love and lust, arguing that “in Christianity, there is no condemnation of the sexual instinct”. Source: CNA. 

Centering his reflection on the “human experience,” the Pope drew upon the Song of Songs, which he called a “wonderful poem of love between two lovers” that reveals falling in love “is one of the most astonishing realities of existence”. 

The Pope observed that in this process, there is an altruistic factor in which “a person in love becomes generous, enjoys giving gifts, writes letters and poems. He stops thinking of himself to be completely focused on the other.” 

“To love is to respect the other, to seek his or her happiness, to cultivate empathy for his or her feelings, to dispose oneself in the knowledge of a body, a psychology, and a soul that are not our own, and that must be contemplated for the beauty they bear,” the Pope said to the faithful gathered in the Paul VI Audience Hall. 

The Pope said that while “falling in love is one of the purest feelings” there is the risk that it could be “polluted by vice.”

“This ‘garden’ where wonders are multiplied is not, however, safe from evil” as it has been “defiled by the demon of lust,” a vice that is “particularly odious” because it “destroys relationships between people”, Francis said. 

Observing that romantic pursuits that are predicated upon lust “seek only shortcuts,” the Pope emphasised that “the road to love must be travelled slowly, and this patience, far from being synonymous with boredom, allows us to make our loving relationships happy.” 


Pope Francis: ‘In Christianity, there is no condemnation of the sexual instinct’ (By Matthew Santucci, CNA)


Pope at Audience: Beware of the vice of lust, embrace pure love (Vatican News)