Pope Francis gives the thumbs up during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on June 14, 2017. (Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP)
Violence and hatred often are signs that a person is unhappy and feels unloved and unwanted, Pope Francis said.
In today's world, people — especially children and youths — often feel that unless "we are strong, attractive and beautiful, no one will care about us," Catholic News Service reported the pope as saying June 14 during his weekly general audience.
"When an adolescent is not or does not feel loved, violence can arise. Behind so many forms of social hate and hooliganism, there is often a heart that has not been recognized," he said.
When men and women do not feel loved, he said, they run the risk of succumbing to the "awful slavery" of believing that love is based solely on one's appearance or merits.
"Imagine a world where everyone begs for reasons to attract the attention of others and no one is willing to love another person freely," he said. "It seems like a human world but, in reality, it is a hell."
Feelings of loneliness, he added, often lead to "man's many narcissisms" and can be conquered only by an "experience of love that has been given and received."
Recalling his time as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, the pope said he saw God's unconditional love reflected on the faces of mothers who went to the local prison to visit their children.
"I remember so many mothers in my diocese who would get in line to enter the prison. So many mothers who were not ashamed. Their child was in prison, but it was their child and they suffered so many humiliations, "the pope recalled.
"Only this love of a mother and father can help us understand God's love," he said, adding that, "no sin, no wrong choice can ever erase it."
Source: Catholic News Service