Protection of Life and Family Seen as Priority for Every Prelate

Prefect of Congregation for Bishops Addresses Santo Domingo Meeting

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SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, SEPT. 4, 2002 ( The protection of life and of the family is the priority for every bishop, officials at an episcopal meeting insisted.

The subject was addressed at the three-day meeting of representatives of the Americas’ episcopal conferences, particularly by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Bishops and president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

In analyzing the topic “Situation and Prospects of the Family in America,” the cardinal said that the priority of the pastoral care of the family and of life has been assumed by the episcopates as decisive for the future of evangelization and of humanity itself.

Human life and the family, he said, “are the object of attack and are threatened by currents of thought, legislation, practices, lifestyles and behavior that represent great challenges and try to destroy and deform the family.”

Just as in the flood, God saved Noah’s family and reconstructed humanity with it, so in the same way “in the deluge of materialism and hedonism … the only hope of salvation that remains is in the holiness of the family,” Cardinal Re said.

Hence, “service of the family is among the essential tasks of the bishop,” stressed the cardinal, who helps the Pope with the appointment of bishops.

“The pastoral care of the family and of life must be among the plans of all the dioceses and parishes,” the cardinal explained. “It must be one of the focal points of the pastoral structures in dynamic relation with the diocesan, parish and family communities.”

Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, highlighted some threats to the family and life.

He cited the subtle and surreptitious language which propagates an anti-family, anti-life mentality, as well as the imposition by international bodies of ideas and practices that follow this line.

Bishop Jorge Enrique Jimenez Carvajal, president of the Latin American bishops’ council (CELAM), described “the effects of the culture of death.”

He lamented the high number of abortions in Latin America. “There is no world war, or holocaust … or political massacre that can be compared to it,” he said.

The Colombian bishop also criticized the use of the concept “quality of life” in opposition to “quantity of life.”

“It is absurd, as continues to be affirmed, that it is the quantity of human beings that causes poverty, misery and indigence, when we know for sure that it is a product of the prevailing social injustice, which literally continues to effect the greater enrichment of the rich and the greater impoverishment of the poor,” the CELAM president added.

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