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Sunday 20th June is Father's Day. We congratulate all fathers on this special day as we remember our fathers be they living or dead. The following reflection was given by Pope Francis in a General Audience in February 2015. It connects the gift of fatherhood to God the Father's paternal care for us and our identity as children he was created. It also challenges a false notion that fatherhood is a social construct or a stereotype role that can easily be substituted by someone who is not our father. Fatherhood is not a label. It is inextricably linked to biology. Fatherhood matters.

A good father knows how to wait and knows how to forgive from the depths of his heart. Certainly, he also knows how to correct with firmness: he is not a weak father, submissive and sentimental. The father who knows how to correct without humiliating is the one who knows how to protect without sparing himself…

If, then, there is someone who can fully explain the prayer of the “Our Father”, taught by Jesus, it is the one who lives out paternity in the first person. Without the grace that comes from the Father who is in Heaven, fathers loose courage, and abandon camp. But children need to find a father waiting for them when they come home after failing. They will do everything not to admit it, not to show it, but they need it; and not to find it opens wounds in them that are difficult to heal.

The Church, our mother, is committed to supporting with all her strength the good and generous presence of fathers in families, for they are the irreplaceable guardians and mediators of faith in goodness, of faith in justice and in God’s protection, like St Joseph.

– Pope Francis General Audience February 4, 2015


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