Vatican City, 9 June 2013 (VIS) – “The Ten Commandments are not a limitation, but an indication for freedom.” This was the heart of Pope Francis' video message that was broadcast yesterday at 9:40pm local time to the thousands gathered in Milan's Cathedral Square to participate in the “Ten Squares for Ten Commandments” initiative promoted by the “Renewal in the Spirit” movement in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization as part of the Year of Faith.
Milan is the fourth city to host the initiative, which began under the pontificate of Benedict XVI in September of 2013, following events in Rome, Naples, and Verona. In the coming months, Pope Francis will send video messages to participants gathering in squares in Bari, Genoa, Cagliari, Florence, Palermo, Bologna, and Turin.
“The Ten Commandments,” the pontiff affirmed, “are a gift from God. The word 'commandment' isn't fashionable. To today's persons, it recalls something negative, someone's will that imposes limits, that places obstacles to our lives. … Unfortunately history, even recent history, is marked by tyranny, ideologies, mindsets that have been imposed and oppressive, that haven't sought the good of humanity but rather power, success, and profit. The Ten Commandments, however, come from a God who created us out of love, from a God who established a covenant with humanity, a God who only wants the good of humanity. Let us trust in God! … The Ten Commandments show us a path to travel and also constitute a sort of 'moral code' for building just societies that are made for men and women. How much inequality there is in the world! How much hunger for food and for truth! How much moral and material poverty resulting from the rejection of God and from putting so many idols in his place! Let us be guided by these Ten Words that enlighten and guide those seeking peace, justice, and dignity.”
“It is important to remember when God, through Moses, gave the people of Israel the Ten Commandments. At the Red Sea the people had experienced great deliverance. They had seen first hand the power and faithfulness of God, the God who liberates. Now God himself, upon Mount Sinai, indicates to his people and to all of us the way to remain free, a path that is engraved upon the human heart as a universal moral Law. We shouldn't see the Ten Commandments as restriction upon our freedom; no, not that way. We should see them as signs for our freedom. … They teach us how to avoid the slavery to which the many idols that we ourselves build reduce us. … They teach us to open ourselves to a wider dimension than the material one; to live with respect for others; overcoming the greed of power, possessions, and money; to be honest and sincere in our relationships; to protect all of creation and to nurture our planet with high, noble, and spiritual ideals. Following the Ten Commandments means being faithful to ourselves, to our most authentic nature, and walking towards the true freedom that Christ taught us in the Beatitudes.”