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Pope Francis with a group of children after his weekly general audience at the Vatican yesterday (CNS/Pablo Esparza)

Exercising the virtue of temperance is not a recipe for a boring life, Pope Francis said yesterday, but the secret to enjoying every good thing. Source: CNS.

If one wants “to appreciate a good wine, savouring it in small sips is better than swallowing it all in one go. We all know this,” the Pope said at his weekly general audience in St Peter’s Square.

Continuing a series of audience talks about vices and virtues, the Pope focused on temperance, which the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines as “the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods”.

Temperance is “the virtue of the right measure” in what one does and what one says, the Pope said. “In a world where so many people boast about saying what they think, the temperate person prefers instead to think about what he or she says.”

“Do you understand the difference?” Pope Francis asked people in the square. It means “I don’t say whatever pops into my head. No, I think about what I must say.”

A temperate person does not allow “a moment’s anger to ruin relationships and friendships that can then only be rebuilt with difficulty,” the Pope said. Temperance with words is especially important in families to keep “tensions, irritations and anger in check”.

“There is a time to speak and a time to be silent, but both require the right measure,” he said.

Being temperate, he said, does not mean never getting annoyed or frustrated, Pope Francis said, but he kept repeating the phrases with “the right measure” and “the right way”.

A temperate person “affirms absolute principles and asserts non-negotiable values,” the Pope said, but he or she does so in a way that shows understanding and empathy for others.

In other words, he said, a temperate person has the gift of balance, “a quality as precious as it is rare” in a world given to excess.


In age of excess, temperance helps one experience real joy, Pope says (By Cindy Wooden, CNS via USCCB)