Benedict XVI to Spanish Bishops: Marriage and family are irreplaceable

.- In a letter sent to the President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Pope Benedict XVI recalled the irreplaceable character of marriage and the family in society and renewed his call to attend to the V World Meeting of Families, which will take place in July of 2006 in Valencia, Spain.

In the letter, which was made public this Sunday by Archbishop Agustin Garcia Gasco of Valencia, the Holy Father said that the renewed calls for convening the gathering have as their purpose the encouraging, “as John Paul II did, of the ‘stupendous novelty,’ the ‘Gospel of the Family,’ whose value is central for the Church and society.”

The Pope noted, “In order to put a human face on society, no nation can ignore the precious good of the family, founded upon marriage.  The marital covenant, by which a man and a woman constitute among themselves a consortium for life, ordered by its very nature towards the good of the spouses and the generation and education of offspring, is the foundation of the family, the patrimony and common good of humanity.  Thus, the Church cannot cease from proclaiming that, according to the plan of God, marriage and the family are irreplaceable and do not allow for other alternatives.”

“Today more than ever,” the Pope added, “the Christian family has the most noble and unavoidable mission of transmitting the faith, which implies a commitment to Jesus Christ, died and risen, and insertion into the ecclesial community. Parents are the first evangelizers of their children, precious gifts of the Creator, beginning with the teaching of their first prayers.  Thus a moral universe is built rooted in the will of God, in which the child grows up with the human and Christian values that give full meaning to life.”

The World Meeting of Families is scheduled to take place the first week of July in 2006, with the theme, “The transmission of the faith in the family.”

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