The deterioration experienced in society is due to ideologies weakening the family, the institution to which God has entrusted the protection of life, says the bishop of Cúcuta in Colombia, José Libardo Garcés.

In the latest editorial of the diocesan newspaper La Verdad (The Truth), the prelate invited Christians to reflect on the family and life “to become aware of God’s call to each home to defend, protect, and safeguard human life as an essential foundation for forming a person and a society based on the virtues of the Gospel, which at the same time has its basis in the sacrament of marriage.”

“We are experiencing how society is deteriorating in many aspects,” he noted, “and this has its roots in the deterioration of family life, which is arising from different ideologies and ways of conceiving marriage and the family that have turned their backs on God.”

The bishop of Cúcuta, a diocese bordering Venezuela, noted that God’s constant call “is to build home life on the firm rock of Jesus Christ” and to receive from him the strength to face the challenges and tasks of the mission received from God to protect human life in all its stages.

Libardo said the Catholic Church’s defense of life “goes against the ideologies that present abortion, euthanasia, and other attacks against the life and dignity of the human person as the behavioral norm.”

“In the face of this we have to strengthen the family that protects life as a free gift from God,” he said.

“The Christian family becomes a solid rock on which society is built,” the prelate explained, “because in it we learn the healthy relationship between father, mother, spouses, children, and siblings, to go out into society to create healthy interpersonal relationships” based on Gospel values.

Regarding the pain and anguish that can be experienced within the home, the bishop explained that “the cross is part of human life and also of family life,” which is why he invited the faithful to learn from the Virgin Mary, “to be alongside the cross of the Lord, sometimes in pain, but standing there and with hope in Jesus, who does not disappoint.”

The bishop noted that in his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis teaches that when families follow Jesus, breakup can be avoided.

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“Gradually, with the grace of the Holy Spirit, [the spouses] grow in holiness through married life, also by sharing in the mystery of Christ’s cross, which transforms difficulties and sufferings into an offering of love,” the pope’s exhortation says.

Libardo said that “this teaching of Pope Francis is very consoling, because many marriages and families break off their relationships at the first difficulty or crisis they experience, forgetting that with the grace of God received in the sacrament of marriage and renewed day by day in the Eucharist, they can persevere in the mission that they have received until the end.”

The prelate highlighted those Christian married couples who have persevered in their faithful love, “with the certainty that the Lord is always present every day until the end of their lives.”

The bishop called on families “to find a few minutes each day to join together before the Lord” and to place “personal and family life under the protection and aegis of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the glorious patriarch St. Joseph, so that together at home they can make a profession of faith proclaiming, ‘You are the Christ.’”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.