Catholic Culture Dedication
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Pope, at general audience, warns against sorrow

February 07, 2024

At his February 7 general audience, held in Paul VI Audience Hall, Pope Francis warned against spiritual sorrow, in the seventh talk in a series of Wednesday general audiences devoted to the virtues and vices.

“In our catechesis on the virtues and the vices, we now center our attention on spiritual sadness,” the Pontiff said, in the words of the Vatican’s summary of his remarks. “St. Paul speaks of a ‘godly grief’ and a ‘worldly grief’ (2 Cor 7:10). The former prompts conversion, enabling us to cling to hope and, therefore, leads to joy.”

The summary continued:

The latter stems from dashed hopes and disappointments, eroding the soul with discouragement and sadness. Unlike most vices that seek fleeting pleasures, sadness indulges itself by wallowing in sorrow, hindering spiritual growth.

As an antidote to this kind of despondency, the Desert Fathers recommended embracing Christ’s resurrection; for the risen Jesus redeems all the happiness that has remained unfulfilled in our lives. May faith cast out fear and Christ’s resurrection remove sadness like the stone before his tomb.

In the patristic era, St. John Cassian, echoing Evagrius Ponticus, numbered tristitia (sadness or sorrow) among the deadly (capital) sins.


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