In an address today to participants in the European Symposium of University Professors, the Holy Father strongly affirmed that “Europe’s future depends on the family.”
The Symposium is being held in Rome to discuss the theme "The Family in Europe, foundations, experiences and prospects" by looking at the philosophical, juridical and theological bases of the institution of the family.
As the Pope noted, the symposium is taking place within the context of the International Year of the Family.
“One can say thefamily is the mirror of society and even of the Europe which is being built. The evolution of the family is the most important indicator of cultural and institutional developments of the continent,” said John Paul II.
He added that “in the first millennium the encounter between Roman law and the Christian message gave rise to what can be called the European model of the family, spread on a broad scale to the Americas and Oceania.”
In the last 50 years, he said, phenomena have occurred in developed societies "in a very visible fashion and symptomatic of a deep crisis, with consequences we all can see today.”
“In the face of such crises,” he continued, “the family has always been an element of cohesion and strength and, even when bitterly contested, has been the object of hopes, desires, projects and nostalgia.”
“The central question,” said John Paul II, “is: Can we today still speak of a model of the family. The Church is convinced, within today's context, that it is more than ever necessary to reaffirm the institutions of marriage and the family as realities which derive from the wise will of God, and fully reveal their meaning and value within His plan of creation and salvation.”
The Pope expressed his hope that the syposium "will contribute to allowing families in the Europe of today and tomorrow to adequately fulfill the role that is theirs because of their very high dignity.”