By Robin Gomes
The Vatican’s top official has invited Christians to respond to the call of Pope Francis in helping realize God’s plan for marriage and the family, saying “the Gospel of the Family” is a source of hope for our world.
The invitation of Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin came in a talk on Saturday at the 12th World Congress of Families that took place in the Moldavian capital, Chisinau, September 14-16.
Hope and light
Reflecting on the Christian vision of marriage and the family, Cardinal Parolin said that the family needs to be “proclaimed in its integrity, especially in times like our own, when we are conscious of how deeply fragile so many human relationships appear to be.” “Families, whose nature is God-given and whose vocation is love, are today – perhaps more than ever before – called to be a beacon of hope, a ray of light in our world,” he said.
Threat to family
The cardinal explained that today’s individualistic, utilitarian and consumerist culture poses grave challenges to the family. Extreme individualism weakens family bonds and ends up considering each member of the family as an isolated unit.
This individualistic culture enjoys enormous prestige in the world of media, finance and politics, but it ultimately relegates intermediate institutions like the family to a non-essential option. Church bodies and organized religion are relegated to the “private sphere”, and relationships such as the family or those within the Church are not essential to the process of generating profits.
Family - basic to society
In this situation, Cardinal Parolin said, the Church is called to reaffirm its confidence in God’s plan for the family and the natural institution of marriage. As an image of God, he explained, the family is the building block of every society, where mutual growth and development are promoted amidst differences.
The lived experience of the beauty of the family is the strongest argument we have, because it tends to welcome rather than exclude, show compassion rather than condemn, attract rather than impose.
Cardinal Parolin stressed that the family contributes, and will always contribute, to the harmony and development of every society: the structure of a society is dependent on the structure of the family and on the relationships nurtured therein.
“May all of us do our part to realize God’s plan for marriage and the family,” Cardinal Parolin urged.