The Bishops’ Conference of Chile concluded its Plenary Assembly last week with the publication of a pastoral letter entitled, “Marriage and the Family,” calling on society to recover the importance of the family and renewing the Church’s commitment to marriage.
“The Chilean episcopate desires to be faithful to the teaching which, in distinct historical, social and cultural circumstances, it has reiterated regarding marriage and the family.” “What benefit would a greatly developed economy be to society if people cease to be guided by the authentic values that should be lived out and fought for and that give true meaning to life?” the bishops asked.
One year after Chile legalized divorce, the bishops recalled that “the marital union and the family founded upon the nature of the human being and that attain their fullness in the Sacrament is good news for society.”
“It is an invitation to grow in love, in commitment and in fidelity in the midst of the changing circumstances of life. Family prayer and participation in Sunday Mass are the guarantors of the presence of Jesus in the home,” they said.
The bishops also called on Chileans “to discover marriage as good news, a beautiful vocation. Society has the support of the bishops to discover the gift and joy that exist in sharing rather than solely in competing; in complementing each other rather than solely in standing out.”
The bishops also called on priests, permanent deacons and religious, as well as others devoted to family ministry, “to also develop a pastoral plan to reach out to the separated. And in the case of separated persons who have contracted a second union, and who therefore are not able to fully participate at the table of the Eucharist, the community must be exhorted to open their doors to them.”
The bishops’ letter also calls on educational institutions to provide students a formation based on virtues such as true love, the authentic understanding of sexuality, the sacredness of human life, and the valuing of marriage and the family.
“We call on the State to develop effective policies for the good of the family, devoting resources to decent housing, valuing marriage and child-bearing, strengthening already existing families, contributing to solutions for marriages in crisis, adequately regulating work, salary and the Sunday rest in such a way as to favor a rich home life,” the bishops added.