In today's world, Pope Francis notes, addictions have expanded into the "dangers of virtual space"
The Pope Video for April presents the Holy Father’s prayer intention for this month, entrusted to the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network.The intention is: for liberation from the various addictions that today affect millions of people around the world.
During this time of great concern due to the worldwide pandemic, Francis doesn’t forget the problems of others who are suffering, and asks us to pray for them.
The “drama of addiction” not only refers to drug, alcohol, and tobacco addictions, which continue to be the most prevalent causes of addiction in society, but also the excessive use of devices. Thus new forms of addiction range from compulsive gambling, to pornography, and the excessive use of video games.
In the face of these “dangers of virtual space,” the Holy Father explains that “supported by the ‘Gospel of Mercy’ we can alleviate, care for, and heal the suffering associated with new kinds of addiction,” through prevention, for example, rehabilitation and reintegration projects.
Fr. Frédéric Fornos SJ, International Director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (which includes the Eucharistic Youth Movement, EYM), said that “Christian communities don’t pretend to give answers. There are competent organizations and associations that help people liberate themselves from their addictions.
“However, Christian communities can truly provide support. They are called, through fraternity and forgiveness, to help all those who are slaves to drugs or other forms of addiction to have an encounter with Jesus Christ; to experience that God saves.”
He also explained how Christian spiritual tradition has great experience in helping people not to let themselves be dragged along paths that lead to death, but rather to choose life. “For example, we can call to mind the diseases of the soul diagnosed by Evagrius Ponticus, one of the desert fathers of the 4th century, also known as the ‘scrutinizer of the soul.’ Evagrius, inviting us to nourish ourselves with the Word of God, helps us to ‘order our life,’ to orient it only towards the Lord, ‘the Way, the Truth and the Life’ (John 14).”
Always close to those who suffer, Francis in The Pope Video prays that “those suffering from addiction may be properly helped and accompanied.”
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