SPEECH OF POPE JOHN PAUL II
Saturday, 18 December 2004
1. I greet with affection the Forum of Family Associations and thank the President, Prof. Luisa Santolini, for her words on behalf of you all. This meeting with you, the representatives of thousands of Italian families, is taking place close to Christmas. It is precisely by contemplating the mystery of God who became man and was welcomed into a human family that we can fully understand the value and beauty of the family.
Not only is the family at the heart of Christian life, but it is also the basis of social and civil life and thus constitutes a central chapter in Christian social teaching, as is clearly shown in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (cf. nn. 209-245). It is vital to deepen continually the profound personal importance and the social, original and unrenouncable consequence of the union between a man and a woman, which is brought about in marriage and gives birth to the family community. Those who destroy this fundamental fabric of human coexistence injure society deeply and do damage that is often irreparable.
No civil progress can derive from the social devaluation of marriage and loss of respect for the inviolable dignity of human life. In many cases, what is presented as the progress of civilization or a scientific breakthrough is a defeat for human dignity and society.
Catholic associations, together with all people of good will who believe in the values of the family and life, cannot yield to the pressures of a culture that is undermining the very foundations of respect for life and the promotion of families.
Hence, among the "manifold social service activities" already hoped for in
Familiaris Consortio, whereby families should grow in awareness and assume the responsibility for transforming society (cf. n. 44), the prophetic voice of the Forum of Family Associations appears particularly relevant for Italy and for Europe.
I thank you for all that you have done in the past 10 years and for what you are. As I urge you to continue in your commitment to the service of life and of the family I impart my Apostolic Blessing with affection to you all.