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The Pope Defends The Family

Jesus Christ chose to live in a family because Marriage and the Family are part of the plan of salvation. The family is a reflection of the Most Holy Trinity's intimate life of interpersonal communion. It is because the world is growing more and more de-Christianized that it loses this sense of the community even in its most fundamental expression - the family. Today the family needs to be defended now more than ever.

In this talk by His Holiness Pope John Paul II, each of us is called back to the plan of God for the family which each of us must uphold by our words and deeds. The Pope reminds us that Christian Marriage is indissoluble and each marriage act must be left open to God the Creator, to creating new human life.

On the Feast of the Holy Family, the Pope recited the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square. The recitation of the Marian prayer was preceded by the Holy Father's meditation on the situation of the family today. The text of the Pope's talk which follows is taken from the Vatican paper, L'Osservatore Romano.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. Today we are celebrating the feast of the Holy Family and, with the peaceful, joyous atmosphere of Christmas still in our hearts, we want to enter in spirit into the home at Nazareth in order to meditate on the teachings that come to us from it.

The Son of God, becoming man for our salvation, chose a family for Himself, thus showing us that marriage and the family are part of the plan of salvation and have a special role for the good of the person and of human society. This is the most profound reason why, in the face of modern opposition, the Church "perceives in a more urgent and compelling way Her mission of proclaiming to all people the plan of God for marriage and the family, ensuring their full vitality and human and Christian development, and thus contributing to the renewal of society and of the People of God" (Familiaris consortio, n. 3).

In this perspective the Church never tires of repeating to those who advance different ideas that "from the beginning it was not so" (Matthew 19:8). God, who is love and in Himself lives a mystery of interpersonal communion, inscribed "in the humanity of man and woman the vocation, and thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion" (Familiaris consortio, n. 11).

Authentic marital love is thus assumed in Divine love, deriving from it the demand for an indissolubly faithful and generously fruitful giving. This is not an easy task, however, but the redemption gained by Christ and the salvific action of the Church contribute to its realization. Precisely for this reason, to the degree to which the members of the family are faithful to their task, they make progress on the path of holiness, become witnesses of the Heavenly Father's mercy and help to build a world in which the spirit of service, openness and solidarity reign.

2. Contemplating the Holy Family today in the simplicity of their life at Nazareth, I would like to urge Christian families to imitate their example, to be more and more that "community of love" in which at every moment "respect for life" dominates (Gaudium et spes, n. 47). I would like to invite them to be aware of the importance that they have in the Church and society in regard to the new evangelization. In order for the Gospel to penetrate deeply into every social environment, it is important to evangelize first and foremost the nuclear family, the fundamental cell of the human community, resisting all the forces leading to its breakdown and the many evils which threaten the firmness of moral and spiritual values. From this point of view, it would be most useful to make constant reference to the "Charter of the Rights of the Family" which, in October 1983, the Holy See addressed to "all persons, institutions and authorities concerned with the mission of the family in today's world".

3. My heartfelt wish for all those present, dear brothers and sisters, and for all Christian families is to be living communities of faith and prayer, of humble obedience to the Divine will and of prompt availability to one's brothers and sisters.

For this intention let us fervently pray to Mary Most Holy, the Mother of Jesus and our Mother, and St. Joseph, Her spouse, to whom the Gospel explicitly attributes the characteristic of the "just" man (cf. Matthew 1:19), asking them to enlighten, comfort and guide all the families of the world and the young people who are preparing for marriage.

The Most Important Person . . .

on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honour of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral - a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby's body ... The angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God's creative miracle to bring new saints to Heaven. Only a human mother can. Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature; God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation ... What on God's good earth is more glorious than this: to be a mother?

- Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty