VATICAN CITY, NOV. 23, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The crisis facing the family is one of the most important challenges facing the Church today, John Paul II said when he met with members of the Salvadoran bishops´ conference.
“Humanity risks much in the family institution, to the point that its future is mortgaged if it does not adequately defend and promote it,” the Holy Father said today at the end of the bishops´ quinquennial “ad limina” visit to the Vatican.
Archbishop Fernando Saenz Lacalle of San Salvador, the episcopal conference president, greeted the Pope on behalf of the visiting prelates.
The Pope said: “One cannot give in to fashions and theories that, under the false appearance of modernity and progress, eventually turn against man and create so many victims, beginning with their own children, or the abandonment of the spouses themselves.”
“One of the imperatives of our time is attention to the family,” he said, “because one witnesses a generalized and radical crisis of this fundamental institution, given the serious threats facing it today.”
The Pontiff listed these threats briefly: “marriage breakups, the scourge of abortion, the contraceptive mentality, moral corruption, infidelities and domestic violence.”
In order to address this crisis, the Holy Father offered two proposals.
First, he urged a rediscovery of marriage as a sacrament in which, “in keeping with God´s plan, man and woman realize their conjugal vocation and collaborate with him in creation.”
Second, the Pope asked the Catholic Church to commit itself to a “solid preparation of those who prepare for marriage and the follow-up of Christian homes, which will make it possible to offer convincing examples of how a family should be and its irreplaceable role in society and the Church.”
In order to do this, John Paul II proposed “to form young people called to marriage, as well as already existing families, so that they will overcome the pressures of a culture opposed to marriage and the institution of the family, and live according to God´s plan and the real and genuine exigencies of man and woman.”