Vatican City (AFP) - Pope Francis on Wednesday urged Catholics to honour the elderly and take care of family bonds, also taking the opportunity to return to the thorny subject of mothers-in-law.
In 2015, Francis sparked laughter on a visit to the United States when he told a crowd of thousands: "Families quarrel and sometimes plates can fly and children bring headaches, and I won't speak about mother-in-laws."
Turning his attention once again to family relations on Wednesday, Francis made a long digression on the "mythical character" of the mother-in-law and said they were often the victim of "cliches".
Devoting his general audience in St Peter's Square to the relationship between generations, the Argentine pontiff added: "I'm not saying we see her (the mother in law as the devil, but she is always presented in a pejorative way.But the mother-in-law is the mother of your husband and the mother of your wife," he said.
"We say to ourselves 'the further away your mother-in-law is, the better'.
"But no -- she's a mother, she's an elderly person.
"One of the most beautiful things for a woman is to have grandchildren.When her children have children, it brings her to life again," the 85-year-old pope added.
And he urged daughters-in-law to take care of their relationships with their mothers-in-law.
"...they gave birth to your spouse," he said."At least make them happy."
The pope also had advice for mothers-in-law.
"I tell you, be careful how you express yourselves," he added.