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Tuesday, January 20, 2009


From the Vatican Information Service:

VATICAN CITY, 17 JAN 2009 (VIS) - At 8 p.m. today Mexican time, a recorded video message was transmitted to participants in the Sixth World Meeting of Families. The event, a moment of celebration and witness taking place from 14 to 18 January and attended by Christian families from all over the world, was held at the basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico, on the theme: "The family, teacher of human and Christian values".

That theme, said the Pope in his message, reminds us how "the domestic environment is a school of humanity and Christian life for all its members, with beneficial consequences for people, the Church and society. In fact, the home is called to practice and cultivate reciprocal love and truth, respect and justice, loyalty and collaboration, service and readiness to help others, especially the weakest. The Christian home ... must be impregnated with the presence of God, placing the events of every day in His hands and asking His help to accomplish its vital mission".

"To this end it is vitally important to pray in the family at the most appropriate and significant moments", said the Holy Father. "The Master is definitely present in the family that listens to and meditates upon the Word of God, that learns what is most important in life from Him and puts His teachings into practice. In this way individual and family life is gradually transformed and improved, dialogue is enriched, the faith is transmitted to children, the pleasure of being together increases and the home becomes more unified and consolidated, like a house built upon rock".

Benedict XVI emphasised how, "with the strength that comes from prayer, the family becomes a community of disciples and missionaries of Christ. ... Through the experience of filial obedience to God, faithfulness and generousity in welcoming children, care for the weakest and readiness to forgive, the family becomes a living Gospel which everyone may read". Furthermore, families must "bring their witness of life and their explicit profession of faith to their surroundings, such as schools and associations, and must make a commitment to the catechetical formation of their children and to the pastoral activities of their parish community, especially activities associated with preparation for marriage or specifically directed at family life".

"Because of its essential social function the family has the right for its specific identity to be recognised and not confused with other forms of coexistence. It must also be ensured adequate cultural, juridical, economic, social and health protection. In particular it must be afforded a support which, bearing in mind the number of children and the economic resources available, is sufficient to enable freedom of education and the choice of school".

Finally the Holy Father underlined the need "to develop a family culture and family policies that are driven by families themselves". In this context he encouraged his audience "to join associations that promote the identity and rights of the family in keeping with an anthropological vision that is coherent with the Gospel. Furthermore", he concluded, "I invite those associations to collaborate with one another in order for their activity to be more effective".

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