As the world looks at Christian families today, it needs to see authentic love and that living the faith is possible. That’s how Carl Anderson sums up what he’s been saying in Rome over the past few days.
The head of the Catholic fraternal organization the Knights of Columbus is attending a three-day conference at the Pontifical Pope John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family. CNA caught up with him on May 14, before he headed back to the U.S.
“Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul have spoken so often about the necessity of witness and the witness of Christians individually, in their marriages and in their families. And we have a lot of different disputes about philosophies, politics or economic systems, but what we can all agree on is that every single one of us is looking for authentic love,” he said.
This is the theme of much, if not most, of Carl Anderson’s work – love. In fact, he is the author of five books, including ‘Called to Love: Approaching John Paul II’s Theology of the Body,’ and ‘A Civilization of Love: What Every Catholic Can Do to Tranform the World’.
“Every single one of us realizes at some level that unless we find authentic love our life is meaningless. It doesn’t have a full purpose. And, who has a better message as to what authentic love is than Christians? This is the primary task of Christianity today and Christians today. It’s through their actions and through their lives to witness to those around them that there is an authentic love and Christians understand what that is.”
The particular focus of the conference is Blessed Pope John Paul II’s 1981 document on the family, “Familiaris Consortio – On the role of the Christian Family in the Modern World.”
“It (Familiaris Consortio) is so very important because we have a habit of looking at the family in a negative way – ‘you shouldn’t do this,’ ‘you shouldn’t do that’ and looking at it as a location in which it is very easy to break the rules. When, instead, God has intended marriage to be something very positive in which husband and wife find their way to salvation with each other and because of each other. And this is the message of ‘Familiaris Consortio’ and this is why it is so relevant today,” Anderson said.