The Fifth World Congress of Families began in Amsterdam today, under the theme, “Modern Families: Traditional Values.” In his augural address, the under secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Bishop Carlos Simon Vasquez, said only the family “can guarantee an authentic education in values.”
Speaking on behalf of Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, the president of the dicastery, Bishop Vasquez said family associations are an urgent need today, in order to promote the true identity of the family.
The Church cannot put families on the same plane as the individual or the State, he stated. “The natural family, which is the source and treasure of society, must be sustained at every level,” he said.
Bishop Vasquez also recalled several passages from Pope Benedict XVI’s recent encyclical “Caritas in Veritate,” underscoring that only the family “can guarantee an authentic education in human values, because it ensures altruism and temporal continuity, which are essential in education.”
“Only the vocation to paternity and maternity can transmit a responsible education in responsible procreation, which brings with it the necessary union between personal and social ethics through a harmonious existence that only the family can offer,” he added.
Moreover, only the family “can serve as a counterpoint to the current global economic crisis, because at its center it is a source of social solidarity and civil progress,” the bishop said.
The World Congress of Families is an international pro-family network of organizations, experts and people of good will from more than 60 countries whose purpose is to defend the importance of the family as a social institution. It was founded in 1997 by The Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society in Rockford, Illinois. Previous sessions of the congress were held in Prague (1997), Geneva (1999), Mexico City (2004) and Warsaw (2007).