They have been the target of gags for decades and now long-suffering mothers-in-law have taken up the banner of the pope, who referred to their plight at his weekly audience at the Vatican yesterday.
Since mothers-in-law are “mythical figures” who are often portrayed in a bad light, the Pope appealed to Roman Catholic husbands and wives to go easy on them.
They might be “a little quirky,” but they shouldn’t be demonized or ridiculed, he said.
“The mother-in-law is a mythical figure, I’m not saying we think of her as the devil, but we always think of her as an unpleasant figure,” he told thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
“But the mother-in-law is your husband’s mother or your wife’s mother. We must overcome the thought that the farther away the mother-in-law is, the better.
“Sometimes they’re a little quirky, but they gave birth to your spouse.”
He said mothers-in-law aren’t perfect and should be wary of protecting their offspring once they’re married.
“To you, mothers-in-law, I say, be careful of your tongue, for its abuse is one of the worst sins of a mother-in-law.”
The 85-year-old has no personal experience with a mother-in-law, having never married – but it’s not the first time he’s ventured into territory that has provided such rich stuff for stand-up comics for generations.
During a visit to the United States in 2015, he told a crowd in Philadelphia, “Families fight. Sometimes plates can fly. Children give headaches. I won’t talk about mothers-in-law.”
The remark drew applause and laughter. The year before, during a Valentine’s Day gathering of thousands of couples in St. Peter’s Square, he remarked that “the perfect family” doesn’t exist.
“There is no perfect husband and there is no perfect wife.”
Then, after a funny pause, he added: “Let’s not even talk about perfect mothers-in-law.” (©Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2022)
Telegraph Media Group Limited 
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/pope-francis-sings-praises-of-demonised-mothers-in-law-41595107.html Pope Francis praises ‘demonized’ mothers-in-law