Over 3,000 participants at the sixth annual World Congress of Families in Madrid, Spain issued a declaration calling the family essential in solving present-day crises.
“We assert that the lasting solutions to human problems, including the current economic crisis, come from families and from small communities,” reads the statement titled, the Declaration of Madrid.
Ignacio Arsuaga, president of the civil rights organization Hazteoir.org, told CNA that the closing of the May 25-27 congress was “one of the most moving” of all the events.
During the closing ceremony, Fernando Benzo Saiz – Spain's undersecretary for the Ministry of Education – was interrupted by applause “three times” during his speech, in which he denounced modern attacks on the family, Arsuaga recalled.
Members of the international committee of the World Congress of Families also called this year's event in Madrid one of the best organized since the first was held in 1997.
The declaration, read aloud by Allan Carlson, president of the Howard Center, first underscores the “sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.”
“Each newly conceived person has the right to live, to grow, to be born and to share a home with his or her natural parents united in marriage,” it says, adding that “Abortion, euthanasia and all forms of manipulation of human beings in an embryonic or fetal state, therefore, are attacks against human life.”
The World Congress of Families' document also criticized population control efforts, arguing that “the world is abundant in resources.”
“The weakening of the traditional family and moral and political failings, not human 'overpopulation,' have cause poverty, hunger and the decline of the environment,” the statement asserts.
“The real demographic danger that the earth faces in this new century is the crisis of births and the aging of the population. Our societies need more people, not less.”
After affirming the rights of parents to educate their children without interference from the State, the declaration states that all human beings have the right to religious freedom, which must be respected by politicians.
The World Congress of Families was held in anticipation of the 7th World Meeting of Families, which will take place May 30-June 3 in the Milan. Pope Benedict XVI is slated to attend the event.