By Robin Gomes
The Holy See is calling on society and state to support and protect the identity of the family as a community of persons where the rights of all, including the elderly are safeguarded.
“The family after all is, in many ways, the first school of how to be human and the center and the heart of a ‘civilization of love’,” said Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva. He was addressing a seminar on theme, “Towards greater protection of the family and human rights of older persons.”
Family and solidarity
Archbishop Jurkovic spoke about the unique and irreplaceable role of the family, where the “loving care of all [its] members - from toddlers to seniors” is experienced. It is in the family that solidarity among generations is strengthened and where mutually responsive relationships between” older and younger persons are encouraged.
The Holy See thus regards the family as a community of persons, as the fundamental cell of society, where the principle of solidarity is lived on a daily basis.
“What older persons can give to and receive from the family environment,” Archbishop Jukovic said, “is at the core of the life of a thriving society where human rights are cherished.” Thus, as the natural and fundamental unit of society, the family is entitled to protection by society and the State.
However, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer noted that the family based on the mutual “free and full” commitment of a man and a woman, its intergenerational dynamics and its finality to generate, nurture and cherish life, is constantly threatened, if not outright denied.
He said that a family is built on human reason and love and not on psychological needs, as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will.
He warned that a society based solely upon needs will inevitably turn into an egoistic society, where life is not welcomed and protected, especially when weak and in need of assistance, like in advanced ages.