PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE FAMILY
(Mexico, D.F., 16-18 January 2009)
«The family, teacher in human and Christian values»
STRUCTURE OF EACH ASSEMBLY
The family, first educator of faith
1. God wants all men to know and accept His salvation plan, revealed and realized in Christ (1 Ti 1, 15-16). God spoke in many ways to our parents (Heb 1, 1; all OT). With the completion of the time (Ga 4, 4) He spoke fully and definitively in and for Christ (Heb 1, 2-4): the Father has no other Word to give us, because he gave us the one and only Word in Christ (Jn 1, 1 ss).
2. The Church has received the mandate to announce this great news to all men: “Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28, 19).The Apostles understood it so and carried it out from Pentecost, filling Jerusalem with the announcement of Christ Dead and Resurrected (Ac Ch 1-5) and all the known world of the time (Book of Acts and Letters).
3. The Christian family, the domestic Church, participates in this mission. Furthermore, the first and main recipients of this missionary announcement for the family are their children and relatives, as is attested in Paul's Pastoral Letters and the following praxis. The saintly marriages and Christian parents of all times have thus lived it (father of Saint Teresa of Jesus, father of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus; so many parents of today). In the light of the joyful experience of the Church in the Christian societies of Europe (when family performed this teaching mission with its children) and also in the light of the very serious negative repercussions witnessed today (due to abandoning or neglecting this mission), the family must once again be the first teacher of faith in these nations – which are indeed no longer Christian – in which the faith is being strengthened and where the Church is being implanted. The parents' most important missionary preaching has to be in their own family bosom, because it would be a grave and poor example to try to evangelize others while neglecting the evangelization of our own. Parents transmit the faith to their children with the testimony of their Christian life and word.
4. The core aspect of this education in the faith is the joyful and vibrant announcement of Christ, Dead and Resurrected for our sins. The other truths contained in the Apostles Creed, the sacraments and the Ten Commandments are in intimate connection with this core. Human and Christian virtues form part of the integral education of the faith. (This fundamental background can now almost never be assumed, not even in so-called “Christian” countries and in the cases when the parents ask for the initiation sacraments for their children, given the parents’ crass religious ignorance and scarce religious practice).
The family, educator of the truth of man: marriage and family
1. The most important issue to be faced by the family today in the Christian education of the children is not religious but essentially anthropological: the radical ethical-philosophical relativism. According to this, there is no objective truth about man and, consequently, about marriage and family. Sexual difference itself, manifested in the biology of male and female is not based on nature, but on a simple cultural product, that each can change according to their own understandings. This denies and destroys the existence of the institution of marriage and family itself.
2. Relativism also affirms that God does not exist and that it is impossible to know Him (atheism and agnosticism), and also that there are no lasting values or ethical norms. The only truths are those that stem from parliamentary majority.
3. Given this very radical and conditioning reality, the family now has the unavoidable task of transmitting the truth of man to their children. As it happened already in the early centuries, it is now of the utmost importance to know and understand the first page of Genesis: there is a good and personal God, who has created man and woman with the same dignity, yet different and complementary amongst themselves, and he has given them the task of having children through the indissoluble union of both in “one flesh” (marriage). The texts that narrate the creation of man illustrate that the man and woman couple – as designed by God – are the first expression of communion amongst persons, because Eve is created in the image of Adam as that, which in its otherness, completes him (Gen 2, 18) to form with him “one flesh” (Gen 2, 24). At the same time, they both have the procreative mission, which makes them collaborators of the Creator (Gen 1,28)
4. This truth of man and marriage has also been known by strict human reason. Indeed, all cultures have recognized in their customs and laws that marriage consists only of the communion of a man and a woman, although they occasionally have admitted polygamy and polyandry. Unions of the same sex have always been considered alien to marriage.
5. St. Paul described all of this very vigorously in his letter to the Romans, when describing the situation of paganism at his time and the moral disorder into which he had fallen because he did not want to recognize in life the God he had known through reason (Ro 1, 18-32). This New Testament page should be well learned by the family today, to avoid founding their teaching activity on quicksand. The ignorance of God also leads to the blurring of the truth about man.
6. The Fathers of the Church offer abundant doctrine and are a good example of how to proceed, because they had to explain in detail the existence of a Creator and Provident God, who created the world, man and marriage as good realities; and battle against the moral disorder of paganism that affected marriage and family.
The family, educator of dignity and respect for all human person
1. The Church sees in man, in each man, the living image of God Himself; an image that finds –and is called to discover ever more deeply- its actual reason of existence in the mystery of Christ. Christ reveals God to us in His truth; but, at the same time, He also manifests man to men. This man has received from God an incomparable and inalienable dignity, for he has been created in His image and likeness, and is to be His adoptive son. Christ, with His incarnation has, in a way, united with all men.
2. Because he is made in the image of God, the human being has the dignity of person: he is not just something, but somebody. He is capable of knowing himself, giving himself freely and entering into communion with other people. This relationship with God may be ignored, forgotten or removed, but it can never be eliminated, because the human person is a personal being created by God to relate to and live with Him.
3. Men and women have the same dignity because both are image of God and because, besides, they also profoundly realize themselves by reencountering themselves as persons through the sincere gift of themselves. Woman is the complement of man and man is the complement of woman. Men and women complement each other, not just from the physical and psychological point of view, but also ontologically, for it is only due to the duality of “masculine” and “feminine”, that “humanness” is fully realized. It is the “unit of two” that allows each one to experience the interpersonal and reciprocal relationship. Furthermore, God only entrusts the task of procreation and human life to this “unit of two”.
4. All creation has been made for man. Man, however, has been created and loved in himself. Man exists as a unique and unrepeatable being. He is an intelligent and conscious being, capable of reflecting about himself and, therefore, he is aware of himself and his acts.
5. The dignity of the human person – every human person - does not depend on any human instance, but on his very being, created in the image and likeness of God. Therefore, nobody may mistreat this dignity without committing a grave violation of the order wanted by the Creator. Similarly, a just society can only be accomplished in the respect of the transcendental dignity of the human person.
6. Despite the limitations and suffering etched on their bodies and minds, the disabled are still fully human subjects, holders of rights and duties, which nobody may violate or discriminate.
7. The unborn are also persons from the very moment of conception; and their life may not be destroyed by abortion or scientific experiments. Destroying unborn life, which is completely innocent, is an act of supreme violence and severe responsibility in the eyes of God.
The family, transmitter of human virtues and values
1. The family, born from the intimate communion of life and marital love based on the marriage of a man and a woman, is the primary place for interpersonal relations, the fundament of people’s lives and the prototype of all social organization. This crib of life and love is the right place for a man to be born and to grow, receive the first notions of truth and good, where he learns what it means to love and to be loved, consequently, what is means to be a person. The family is the natural community where the first experience and first learning of human social behavior are found, because it is not only where the personal relationship between the “I” and “you” is discovered, but also where the step to the “us” is taken. The reciprocal giving of man and woman joined in marriage creates an environment of life in which the child may develop his potential, become aware of his dignity and gird himself to his unique and unrepeatable destiny. In this environment of natural affection that joins all the members of the family community, each individual is recognized and given responsibility.
2. The family educates man according to all his dimensions in order to fulfill his dignity. It is the most suitable environment for the teaching and transmission of the cultural, ethical, social, spiritual and religious values that are essential for the development and wellbeing of both the family members and society. Indeed, it is the first school of the social virtues needed by all peoples. The family helps people develop some fundamental values that are indispensable for the formation of free, honest and responsible citizens; e.g., truth, justice, solidarity, helping the weak, love to others, tolerance, etc.
3. The family is the best school to create community and fraternal relations given the current individualistic trends. Indeed, love – the soul of the family in all its dimensions – is only possible if you sincerely give yourself unto others. Loving means giving and receiving something that cannot be bought or sold, only freely and reciprocally given. Thanks to love, each member of the family is recognized, accepted and respected in his dignity. Love gives rise to relationships lived as free giving, and from which disinterested and solidly profound ties emerge. As experience has shown, the family constructs a network of interpersonal relations everyday and it prepares us for life in society in a climate of respect, justice and true dialogue.
4. The Christian family shows its children that their grandparents and the old people are not useless because they are not productive, or burdensome because they need the disinterested and constant care of their children and grandchildren; because it teaches the new generations that besides economic and functional values, there are other human, cultural, moral and social assets that are even superior to the former.
5. The family helps discover the social value of the goods it possesses. A table where we all share the same food, adapted to the health and age of all the members, is an example, simple yet very efficient, to reveal the social sense of the goods created. The child thus incorporates criteria and attitudes that are useful later on in that other bigger family, which is society.
The family, open to God and fellow men
1. Man is made in the image and likeness of God, to live and be with Him. Atheism, agnosticism and religious indifference are not natural situations for man and they cannot be definitive situations for a society. Men are in essence re-tied to God, just as a house is tied to the architect that built it. The painful consequences of our sins may darken this horizon, but sooner or later, we will yearn for the house and the love of our Father in Heaven. We experience something like the parable of the prodigal child who did not stop being a child when he left his father’s home, and despite his waywardness, in the end, he felt an irresistible yearning to return. Indeed, all men always feel a longing for God and they have the same experience as St. Augustine, even if they are not capable of expressing it with the same strength and beauty as he did: “Lord you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they can find peace in you.” (Confessions, 1,1).
2. Aware of this reality, the Christian family places God on the horizon of the life of their children as from the first moments of their conscious existence. It is an environment that they breathe and incorporate. This helps them discover and receive God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and the Church. With full coherence, and from the moment of their birth, the parents ask the Church for their Baptism and they joyfully take their children to receive the baptismal waters. They then accompany them in preparing for the First Communion and Confirmation and enroll them in the parish catechism classes and look for the school that gives them the best Catholic education.
3. Nevertheless, the true Christian education of children is not limited to including God among the important things of their children’s lives, but to put God in the center of this life, so that all the other activities and realities: intelligence, feelings, freedom, work, rest, pain, illness, allergies, material possessions, culture; in a nutshell: everything is molded and ruled by the love to God. Children have to get accustomed to wondering before each action: “what would God want me to do or not do right now?” Jesus Christ confirmed the faith and conviction of the adherents of the Old Covenant about what they considered the "great commandment", when He responded to the doctor of Law that “The first commandment is this: thou shalt love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and all your strength.” (Mk 12,28; Lk 10,25; Mt 22,36).
4. This education in the centrality of the love to God is given by the parents, especially through the realities of daily life: family prayers at meals, teaching children to be grateful to God for the gifts received, turning to Him at all times of pain in any of its forms, participating in Sunday mass with them, accompanying them to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation, etc.
5. The Law doctor’s question only included “what is the first commandment”. But when Jesus answered, he added: the second is similar to this “love thy neighbor as thyself”. Then love for thy neighbor is "His commandment" and the “hallmark” of His disciples. As St. John concluded with fine psychology: “If you don’t love your neighbor who you can see, how much will you love God who we can't see?” (1 Jn 4,20).
6. Parents must help their children discover fellow people, their neighbor, especially the needy, and to render small but constant services: share their toys and gifts with their brothers and sisters, help the smaller ones, give alms to the poor in the street, visit sick relatives, accompany grandparents and do small services for them, accept people by overlooking the small offences and limitations of every day, etc. These things, repeated once and again, shape the mentality and create good habits, to face the life of the “prejudice” acquired from the love of others and thus make them capable of creating a new society.
The family, molder of the strict moral conscience
7. Modern man is increasingly convinced that the dignity and vocation of human persons requires that, guided by the light of their intelligence, they should discover the values inscribed in their nature, develop them without stopping and realize them in life, and thus make more progress. Now, in their judgments about moral values, that is, about what is good or bad and consequently, about what must be done or omitted, they cannot proceed according to their personal judgments. Man, in the depths of his conscience, discovers the presence of a law that he does not set for himself and which he must obey. This law has been written by God in his heart, so that, in addition to striving for betterment as a person, this shall be the law by which God shall judge him personally.
8. Consequently, there is no true promotion of the dignity of man other than in the respect for the essential order of nature. Certainly, many concrete conditions and many needs of human life have changed and will continue to change. Nevertheless, all the evolution of customs and forms of life will have to stay within the limits imposed by the immutable principles founded on the constituent elements and on the essential relationships of human life; elements and relationships that go beyond historic contingencies.
9. These fundamental principles, understandable by reason, are contained in the divine, eternal, objective and universal law, by which God orders, rules and governs the world and the paths of the human community according to the plan of His wisdom and love. God makes man participate in His law, so that man can know more and more about the immutable truth. Additionally, Christ has made His Church as a column and fundament of the truth and He has given it the permanent assistance of the Holy Spirit to unequivocally conserve the truths of moral order and accurately interpret not only the positive revealed law but also the moral principles that emanate from human nature itself and which affect the development and perfection of man.
10. Many today maintain that the norm of particular human actions is not contained in human nature or in the revealed law, but that the only absolute and immutable law is respect for human dignity. Furthermore, philosophical and moral relativism deny the existence of an objective truth, both in terms of being and acting ethically. Each one would have their truth, given that individuals interpret things and behaviors according to their personal intelligence and conscience. Living together would drive us to a truth admitted by all, by virtue of consensus that allows us to live in peace. This is the fundament of the laws that emanate from democratic parliaments. The Church would have nothing to say and if it does, it would be straying to an area that does not correspond to it and this is dangerous for the democratic order.
11. The consequences are disastrous for the person, family and society. This explains the justification of abortion as a woman’s right, the attempts to legalize euthanasia, artificial birth control, increasingly permissive divorce laws, extra-marital relations, etc., etc.
12. The Christian family has the enormous challenge of forging the moral conscience of their children in truth and rectitude, while scrupulously respecting their dignity and freedom, and it thus helps them develop a sound conscience on the great questions of human life: adoration and respect for the God Creator and Savior, love for their parents, respect for life, their own bodies and the bodies of others, respect for material goods and honor of fellow man, fraternity among men, the universal destination of the goods of creation, non-discrimination for religious, social or economic reasons, etc. The precepts of the Decalogue and the Beatitudes are firm points of this teaching.
13. Today parents should confidently and courageously teach their children in these values, starting with the most radical of all: the existence of truth and the need to seek and follow it to fulfill themselves as persons. Other key values are love for justice and clear and delicate sexual education that leads to a personal treasuring of the body and to overcome the mentality and praxis that reduces it to an object of selfish pleasure.
14. A fundamental condition of this education is to foster in the children love for and harmony with the Church, and, more particularly, towards the Pope, bishops and priests; so that they see in them the concern of a good mother who loves them and only wants to help them live a decent and dignified life in this world and to enjoy the contemplation of God in glory.
The family, first experience of Church
1. The Church – People of God, Mystical Body of Christ and Temple of the Holy Spirit – is a universal sign and instrument of salvation through the triple ministry of evangelization, celebration and living with charity. Thanks to the evangelizing ministry, the Church proclaims the Great news that “God wants all men to be saved” (1 Ti 2,4) and that is why he sent his only Son to the world. Through the ministry of the sacraments of initiation, it incorporates new members, strengthens and nourishes them; through the healing sacraments it cures their sins and alleviates their illness; through the sacraments of Order and Marriage, it efficiently cares for itself and society. Through living with charity, it constructs the fraternity of the children of God and becomes ferment of human society.
2. The family is the first experience of the Church that a person receives, because in the family, a person receives a primary and elementary initiation in the faith, receives the first sacraments and has the first experience with charity.
3. Indeed, as soon as they are born, parents take their children to be baptized and they undertake to teach them so that they may receive Confirmation and the First Communion, and thus be initiated into the mystery of Christ and the Church. When they are barely able to understand something, the children are taught the first prayers, to bless the food, they use religious signs and they are initiated in the rudiments of love for the Virgin. When they are able to understand more, parents read the Word of God with them and explain it to them in a simple and reasonable way. At the time of assuming the responsibilities of their personal vocation: marriage, priesthood, a nunnery or celibacy in the midst of the world, parents give their children closeness and support. From the moment they are born, show them immense affection and constant dedication, especially when they are ill or have a deformation or physical and/or psychological deficiency.
4. A particularly intense Church family experience is when the parents and children participate in Sunday Mass. There, while meeting with other families and brothers and sisters in the faith, they hear the Word of God, pray for the needs of all the needy and feed of Christ who sacrificed for us. Faith grows and develops with these beautiful experiences that give meaning to ordinary life, infuse peace in the heart.
5. Special experiences of the Church in its apostolic dimension in some particular moments are also lived in family; e.g. Day of the Holy Infancy, World Sunday, Hunger Campaign, help for under-developed countries or countries struck by earthquakes, cyclones, major accidents, etc.
Collaborators of the family: parish and school
15. Christian education certainly seeks the maturity of the human, but it especially seeks that the baptized are increasingly aware of the gift received from faith; they learn to worship God the Father in spirit and in truth (Jn 4, 13), especially in the liturgical action; they are educated to live according to the “new man” in justice and holiness of truth (Ep 2, 22-23) and thus reach the perfect man at the age of the fulfillment of Christ (Ep 4, 13) and contribute to the growth of the Mystical Body; they become accustomed to bearing witness to the hope in them (1 Pe 3, 15) and efficiently contribute to the Christian configuration of the world (Gravissimum educationis, 2).
16. The parents, when giving life to their children, take on the very serious obligation to educate them and, in turn, they receive the right to be their first and most important educators. It is their duty to form a family environment driven by love and piety towards God and man, which fosters the integral education of their children. Consequently - as mentioned in the previous catechisms- the family is the first school of social virtues that all societies need, the space where the children learn from an early age to know and worship God and love their neighbor, a place where they have the first experience of human society and the Church, and the most efficient environment to introduce their children to civil society and the People of God. Thus the importance of the Christian family is really extraordinary for the life and the progress of the Church; to the extent that it is hard to replace it when it is lacking.
17. But the family cannot carry out its mission on its own, it needs the help of the State. It is the obligation of civil society, to guard the rights and obligations of the parents and the others involved in the education, to collaborate with them, when the effort of the parents and other societies is insufficient, to complete the task of education according to the principle of subsidiarity and attending to the desires of the parents and to create the proper schools and institutions, as needed by the common good. The State, therefore, rather than being antagonistic to or in conflict with the parents, should be their best ally and collaborator, providing everything and only what the parents cannot provide and doing it as directed by the parents. This loyal and efficient collaboration must also include the teachers in all the education centers, both private and public. The children will be the first to benefit from this collaboration, but society and the school will also benefit because these children will be better citizens tomorrow and many of them will make major contributions to the progress of the school.
18. The family also needs the parish. The parents, indeed, educate in the faith, above all, through the testimony of their Christian life, especially through the experience of the unconditional love with which they love their children and the profound love that they feel for each other; which is a living sign of the love of God the Father. Additionally, in accordance with their capacity, they are called to give religious instruction, usually this will be occasionally and not systematically, which they carry out by revealing the presence of the mystery of Christ the Savior in the world, in events of family life, in the feast days of the liturgical year, in the activities performed in the school, in the parish and in groups, etc. Nevertheless, they need the help of the parish because the life of faith matures in the children as they are consciously incorporated into the concrete life of the People of God, which especially happens in the parish. This is where first the child and the teenager, and then the adult, celebrate and take nourishment from the sacraments, participate in the Liturgy and join a dynamic community of charity and apostolate work. The parish must therefore always be at the service of the parents – and not the other way round – especially in the sacraments of Christian Initiation.
5. Family, school and parish are three realities that are integrated and blended by the education the children should receive. The greater the mutual collaboration and exchange, the more affectionate the relationship and the more efficient the education of the children will be.
The family and the model of Nazareth
1. The news on the family of Nazareth in the Gospels are scant, but very illustrating.
2. It is a family built on the base of the marriage between Joseph and Mary. They were really married, as stated by Mathew and Luke; and they lived like this until Joseph’s death. Jesus really was Mary’s son. Joseph was not the biological father –he did not actually father the child- nor was he an adoptive or surrogate father, but the people of Nazareth regarded him as the father of Jesus because they were ignorant of the mystery of Incarnation, and also because Joseph was married to Mary. This is very important today because of the civil legislation and cultural environment that favor common-law and purely civil relationships, divorce, etc. The family of Nazareth is depicted today as an example of a couple formed by a man and a woman, permanently joined by love and with a public dimension.
3. The family of Nazareth lived just like any other family in the town. They led a simple, humble, poor, hard-working lifestyle, with love for the cultural and religious traditions of their country, they were deeply religious and distant from the centers of religious and civil power. A traveler visiting Nazareth who would be ignorant of the facts as we know them, would not find anything to set the holy family apart from the other families: nothing in their dwelling, clothing, food or in the presence of religious acts held in the synagogue, nothing made them different. God has wanted to show us that everyday life is the place where He waits for us to love him and carry out His project on us. The secret is to live “that” life with the same love and dedication as the Holy Family.
4. The Gospels do not clearly state Joseph's trade: blacksmith, carpenter, craftsman... However, the do clearly state that he worked with his hands, and this was his livelihood. Mary, like all married women, milled the flour and baked the daily bread, did the household chores and rendered small services for others. Nothing is said about Jesus, but it is assumed that he helped Mary and, later on, he helped Joseph in his manual work. The family of Nazareth lived what we now call the “gospel of work”, that is, work as a wonderful reality that gives participation in the creative work of God; work that supports the family and helps others, to be sanctified and to sanctify through it. This is also the perfect model for the modern family. Many still live like that, and others, despite the women working outside the home and the technology of domestic chores, are still basically unchanged.
5. The family of Nazareth was a deeply religious and practicing family. Like the rest of the pious families, they always prayed at every meal, went every week to hear the reading and explanation of the Old Testament in the synagogue, they went to Jerusalem to celebrate the pilgrimage feasts like Passover and Pentecost, and they prayed the famous “Behold Israel” three times a day. In the same manner, blessing the food and mealtimes, weekly participation in Sunday mass and the reading of the Holy Scriptures are still the bases for the Christian family to carry out its educational mission.
6. The family of Nazareth’s life was completely centered in God: God was everything for them. Before they were married, Joseph trusted God when, through an angel, he was told that Mary's pregnancy was the work of the Holy Spirit. Once married, Mary and Joseph had to hear from the child that had just found, after days of fretful searching, these words: “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?” (Lk 2,49). They did not understand it, but they accepted it and tried to find a meaning. Mary, however, did not lose her faith when she saw her son nailed to the cross like a criminal and beaten by the heads of the town. The Christian family, whose life is always a picture of lights and shadows, finds peace and joy when it knows it can see God there, even though it does not fully understand.
The family, recipient and agent of the new evangelization
1. “Future evangelization largely depends on the domestic Church” (Speech by John Paul II in the III General Meeting of Latin American Bishops, 1979). Additionally, the family is the heart of the New Evangelization (Speech by John Paul II to African Bishops in charge of family ministry, 1992). The history of the church has confirmed this since its beginnings. A typical case is St. Augustine, converted by the grace of God with the abundant tears of his mother, St. Monica. The family carries out “its mission of preaching the gospel, mainly through the education of children” (EV 92).
2. The evangelizing mission of the family is rooted in the Baptism and it takes on a new form with the grace of the marriage sacraments.
3. The evangelizing task of the Christian family is especially necessary and urgent in places where anti-religious legislation even tries to prevent education in the faith, or where disbelief has grown or where secularism has gained ground to the point where it is practically impossible to lead a truly religious life. This scenario is found mainly in the communist and former communist bloc countries and in the so-called first world countries. The domestic church is the only place where children and youth can receive authentic catechism in the most fundamental truths.
4. The family has a specific way of evangelizing, which is not made out of great speeches or theoretical lessons, but through everyday love, simplicity, concretion and daily testimony. The most important values of the Gospel are thus transmitted. By using this method, the faith penetrates as if by osmosis, imperceptibly but in a very real way, which even makes the family the first and best seminar for priesthood vocations, consecrated life and celibacy in the midst of the world.
5. The services of the Christian parents on behalf of the Gospel are essentially an ecclesiastical service. That is, it is rooted and derived in the sole mission of the Church and is focused on the edification of the Body of Christ. Consequently, the family’s ministry and role of evangelization must be in communion and responsibly harmonize with the services of evangelization and catechism of the dioceses and the parish.
6. This ecclesiastical character means that the evangelizing mission of the Christian family must have missionary and catholic dimension, in full accordance with Christ’s universal mandate: “Go out to the world and preach the Gospel to all children” (Mk 16, 15). It is therefore even possible to find some parents who feel urged to carry the Gospel of Christ “to the ends of the earth”, as happened in the first Christian communities. In any case, a missionary activity must be carried out within the same family environment, proclaiming the Gospel to the non-believing or distant relatives or to families that do not live with the coherence of marriage.
7. The Christian family becomes a missionary community as it accepts the Gospel and it matures in faith. “Like the Church, the family must be a space where the Gospel is transmitted and where it radiates. Within a family that is aware of its mission, every member evangelizes and is evangelized. Parents not only communicate the Gospel to their children, but may, in turn, receive from them this profoundly lived Gospel…Such a family evangelizes other families and its surrounding environment” (EN 71).
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- Paul VI: Humanae vitae
- Benedict XVI: Various discourses referring to the family