The Holy Father called on Christian spouses "to remain faithful to their vocation at all stages of life, 'for better and for worse in sickness and in health' as they promised in the sacramental rite. Aware of the grace they have received, may Christian couples create families open to life and capable of facing together the many and complex challenges of our times."
“There is today a particular need for their testimony,” he continued.
“There is a need for families which are not swept up in the modern cultural currents inspired by hedonism and relativism, and which are ready instead to carry out, with generous devotion, their mission in the Church and in society,” the Pontiff told thousands of gathered pilgrims.
The Pope also reflected on the day’s Gospel text narrating Christ's reply to the Pharisees who asked Him whether it was lawful for a husband to repudiate his wife in accordance with a precept of Mosaic law.
The Holy Father noted that Jesus’ reply was that Moses granted a “concession” due the “hardness of heart,” of the people.
“The truth of marriage goes back to 'the beginning of creation,'” the Pope noted, “when, as is written in the Book of Genesis, 'God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one.' And Jesus adds: 'they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder'."
"This was God's original plan, as Vatican Council II recalled in the Pastoral Constitution 'Gaudium et spes': ‘the intimate partnership of married life and love has been established by the Creator and qualified by His laws, and is rooted in the conjugal covenant of irrevocable personal consent. ... God Himself is the author of matrimony,’" Pope Benedict noted.
Quoting John Paul II's Apostolic Exhortation 'Familiaris consortio,' the Holy Father said that "the sacrament of marriage 'makes Christian married couples and parents witnesses of Christ , ... missionaries, in the true and proper sense, of love and life.' This mission is directed both within the family - especially in serving one another and in the education of children - and outside the domestic community, where it is ... called to be a sign of God's love towards everyone."
Reflecting yesterday on the Christian sense of marriage, Pope Benedict XVI said during his Angelus address that society needs “families which are not swept up in the modern cultural currents inspired by hedonism and relativism,” and which are prepared to generously fulfill their mission for the Church and the world.