By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
Pope Francis set his prepared remarks aside after hearing the passion spoken by the member of the association who introduced the group to the Pope. The following are the remarks prepared in advance by the Pope, and given to the representative of the association to be distributed.
Family is centre of God's plan
“The family, which you promote in various ways, is at the centre of God’s plan,” are the words with which Pope Francis opened his prepared remarks to members of the Forum of Family Associations. The Pope received the group in the Sala Clementina on the occasion of their twenty-fifth anniversary.
Cradle of life
Pope Francis called the family “the cradle of life”. Jesus’ love for children, his teaching on the family and the indissolubility of marriage reveal the family’s place in God’s plan. “It is like a window which is directed toward the mystery of God Himself which is Love in the unity and trinity of Persons”, he said.
A world guided by self-centered logic has lost the sense of stable bonds, the Pope continued. This makes it difficult to understand the value of the family. Civil institutions should rather work toward providing families with adequate support. Those who have learned “to live authentic relationships within the family” will also live them in other contexts in society, he said.
Testify to the joy of love
Pope Francis then encouraged those present to testify to the joy of love. “There is no more persuasive argument than joy” with which to “indicate the treasure that we have discovered and wish to share”, he said.
‘Thank you for your efforts!’
The Pope also expressed his gratitude to the group. Citing the Statutes of the Association, he said, “thank you for the commitment you have taken on, … through an ‘active and responsible participation of the family in the cultural, social, and political spheres’ and for the ‘promotion of adequate family policies that protect and sustain the functions of the family and its rights’.”
Family rights rooted in the dignity of every person
Concluding his remarks, the Pope said that the problems families find in society need to be confronted “firmly and charitably”. “The sensitivity you bring to society regarding the family cannot be labelled ‘confessional’,” the Pope said. Rather it is rooted “on the dignity of the human person. Thus, it can be recognized and shared by all".