In his catechesis at the General Audience, His Holiness Pope Francis said the primary call of the Sixth Commandment – “You shall not commit adultery” – is a call to fidelity and loyalty in our relationships. We cannot love another only as long as it is convenient, he said. True love for another is revealed in fidelity, which is a characteristic of “free, mature, responsible human relationships.” Even in friendships we see that a true friend is one who is there for us even in trials.

As reported by Vatican news, This speaks to a real human need: the need to be loved without conditions. Without this kind of love, the Pope said, we feel incomplete, even if we often don’t recognize it. When that love is lacking, we seek to fill the emptiness within us with substitutes, which are only a reflection of true love. So, the Pontiff said, we can find ourselves overestimating the value of physical attraction. Attraction is a gift from God, but it is ordered to a faithful and authentic relationship with the other person. Quoting Saint John Paul II, His Holiness Pope Francis said we must learn, “with perseverance and consistency, the meaning of the body.”

The Pontiff said that the Sixth Commandment helps us understand that fidelity is a “way of being, a style of life.” Fidelity, based on the faithfulness of Christ, must enter into our whole life, so that it permeates all our thoughts and actions.