Pope: Jealousy threatens family ties

Thursday, February 16, 2017 - Updated: 7:00 am

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Envy and jealousy create division and destroy fellowship and brotherhood among people, especially within families and among members of the clergy, Pope Francis said.

The biblical story of Cain murdering his brother Abel is a cautionary tale on the consequences of allowing bitterness to persist in one’s life, the pope said Feb. 13 during Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives.

“That is how people destroy themselves; that is how enmity destroys families, peoples, everyone! That gnawing (feeling) in your gut, always obsessed with that. This happened to Cain and in the end, he got rid of his brother,” he said.

Looking at the murder of Abel by his brother Cain, the pope said Cain allowed his jealousy to “simmer” and grow, thus destroying “the bonds of fellowship and brotherhood.”

“That is how enmity between us grows: It starts with one small thing, a jealousy, envy. Then this grows and we see life only from that point of view and that thin straw becomes a beam,” he said.

People, especially families, destroy themselves and others if they choose to become obsessed with their envy and anger, and allow it to persist and fester, the pope said.

“This happened in the beginning, it happens to all of us,” he said. “But this process must be stopped immediately, at the beginning, at the first sign of bitterness. Stop. Bitterness isn’t Christian.”

With new pastors and members of the Council of Cardinals present at the Mass, the pope said clergy are not immune to the feelings of bitterness and resentment that threaten fellowship and brotherhood.

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