Devoting his general audience in St Peter’s Square on Wednesday to the relationship between generations, the Argentine pontiff made a long digression on the “mythical character” of the mother-in-law and said they were often the victim of “cliches”.
He added: “I’m not saying we see her 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.”
Equally, 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 themselves. “I tell you, be careful how you express yourselves,” he said.
The 85-year-old pope added: “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.”
It is not his first foray on the subject. In 2015, Francis told a crowd of thousands in the US: “Families quarrel and sometimes plates can fly and children bring headaches, and I won’t speak about mother-in-laws.”