The Holy See Permanent Observer to the United Nations Archbishop Celestino Migliore, spoke last Saturday on the role of the family during the 42nd session of the UN’s Social Development Committee, which included a commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the International Year of the Family.
During his speech, the Archbishop underscored the “primordial role” of the family in society, saying it is “the first place for social integration as it constitutes the primary cell of society and its foundation.”
“For the Holy See,” he stated, “the family is a natural institution based on marriage –the intimate and complementary union of a man and woman- that, as such, possesses its own inalienable rights.”
More than just a simple juridical, sociological or economic unity, the family is a community of love and solidarity. It is for this reason that it is especially suited to realizing the integration of all its members, be they young, old or handicapped.” “One can therefore easily affirm that a family seen in this way could serve as a model of social integration on a broader scale”, he continued.
However, the Archbishop noted that today’s world poses many threats to the family, in particular those situations of “the young who live in dysfunctional families, marked by conflict, inadequate parental control,” drug abuse, to name but a few.
“My delegation insists on the urgency of adopting family policies to meet with the current needs. In fact, my delegation is convinced that these policies constitute the ethical and concrete manner of solving crises in societies and guaranteeing a better future for democracy,” he also stated.
Society should help families, Archbishop Migliore said. However, he added, quoting Pope John Paul’s letter “Familiaris consortio”, “society should not take from families the functions that they can just as well perform on their own or in free associations; instead it must positively favor and encourage as far as possible responsible initiative by families.”
“States have a responsibility to defend the ‘sovereignty’ of the family. Defending the sovereignty of the family contributes to the sovereignty of nations,” he concluded.