‘Defend family values,’ Benedict XVI exhorts
‘Defend family values,’ Benedict XVI exhorts

.- Upon receiving representatives of the Forum of Family Associations and the European Federation of Catholic Family Associations today, the Holy Father addressed the needs of the family while bringing to mind the words of Pope John Paul II, “the future of humanity passes by way of the family.”

Pope Benedict addressed the representatives participating in the conference entitled: “Alliance for the Family in Europe, associations in the leading role,” recalling how the conference aims to raise “the awareness of political leaders and public opinion on the central and irreplaceable role that the family plays in our society.”

The Holy Father also noted that 2008 marks the 40th anniversary of Paul VI's Encyclical "Humanae vitae," and the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of the "Charter of the Rights of the Family," presented by the Holy See in 1983.

The Charter of the Rights of the Family is “principally addressed to political leaders” but it is also directed at families.  The charter “offers those invested with responsibility for the common good a model and a point of reference upon which to base appropriate political legislation for the family” while encouraging families to “come together in the defense and promotion of their rights.”

Benedict XVI emphasized the family’s importance by citing John Paul II, "the Pope of the family," who said that "the future of humanity passes by way of the family.”  Pope Benedict added that all of Biblical history is “an expression of a story of love, a story of alliance with God and with mankind. This is why the story of love and union between a man and a woman in the alliance of marriage was taken up by God as a symbol of the history of salvation.”

Turning to consider the difficulties facing families in the modern world, the Pope noted that in families today, “we hear a cry for help, often an unconscious one, which clamors for a response from civil authorities, from ecclesial communities and from the various educational agencies.”

This must be recognized through a “common commitment to support families by every means available, from the social and economic point of view.”

Among the initiatives of the conference, the Holy Father praised the family-friendly fiscal policy, which aims to “promote family-related policies that give parents a real possibility of having children and bringing them up in the family.”

The Pontiff concluded by exhorting members of the conference to “help families to be a visible sign of this truth, to defend the values which are written in human nature itself and which are therefore common to all humanity: life, the family and education. These are not principles deriving from a [particular] confession of faith but from the application of a justice respectful of the rights of each human being.”

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