By Charles Igwe
Pope Francis delivered a solemn admonition during his Wednesday General Audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, cautioning against the vice of lust and urging individuals to embrace the purity of love. Continuing his series on virtues and vices, the Pope focused on the sin of lust, emphasizing the potential harm it can inflict on relationships and personal freedom.
The Holy Father clarified that Christian doctrine does not condemn the sexual instinct, acknowledging falling in love as a beautiful and tender experience when untainted by vice. He described love as one of the purest feelings, stressing that genuine love is unconditional and beyond reason.
While acknowledging the initial naivety and idealization that may accompany love, Pope Francis urged patience in nurturing powerful emotions. However, he warned that the garden of love is not immune to evil, particularly the vice of lust, which he deemed odious for two reasons: it destroys relationships and robs individuals of their freedom.
Lust, according to the Pope, mocks and plunders the beauty of pure, innocent love. It encompasses the senses and, if undisciplined, becomes a chain that deprives individuals of freedom. Pope Francis emphasized that lust opposes the beauty of love, as God intended, and advocated for responsible use of sexuality within relationships.
The Holy Father acknowledged the lifelong struggle against lust but underscored the importance of preserving the beauty inherent in God’s creation of love between man and woman. He highlighted the value of building a story together, cultivating tenderness, and serving rather than succumbing to the demon of possession.
Pope Francis concluded by expressing a prayer that hearts may always treasure the beauty of love, sharing in the mystery of God’s unconditional love for humanity.