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- Religious leader
Pope Francis has acknowledged that the pandemic has aggravated certain family relationships and wants married couples to use the words "Please, thanks and sorry" with each other.
He released a letter Sunday that he called his "Christmas present to married couples," The Associated Press reported.
Francis added that the lockdowns and quarantines has forced parents and siblings to be together for long durations and has "in some cases led to real difficulties."
"Pre-existing problems were aggravated, creating conflicts that in some cases became almost unbearable. Many even experienced the breakup of a relationship," Francis wrote, according to the AP.
He added that the three most important words in a marriage are "Please, thanks and sorry."
"The breakdown of a marriage causes immense suffering, since many hopes are dashed, and misunderstandings can lead to arguments and hurts not easily healed," he wrote. "Children end up having to suffer the pain of seeing their parents no longer together."
Francis also urged parents to overcome conflicts, suggesting they do so through prayer.
"Remember also that forgiveness heals every wound," he added.
He also urged them to keep having children to fight the "demographic winter" which has led to Italy having one of the lowest birthrates in the world.
Francis previously announced that the yearlong celebration of the family will end in June next year with a family rally in Rome, the AP reported.
"Maybe we aren't born into an exceptional, problem-free family, but our family is our story - everyone has to think: It's my story," he added. "They are our roots: If we cut them, life dries up!"
Francis also wants families to stop using their cellphones during dinner and talk to one another instead.
"It's sad to see a family at lunch, each one with his or her own cell phone not speaking to one another, everyone talking to the mobile phone," he added.