Address on Closing Day of World Meeting of Family

«Privileged Way of Dialogue Among Religions,» Pope Says

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 26, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address John Paul II gave today to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square, before praying the midday Angelus.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

1. Over the past days, the 4th World Meeting of Families took place in Manila, capital of the Philippines. It ended a few hours ago with a solemn eucharistic celebration presided over by Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family and my legate to that important ecclesial event.

The theme of the meeting was very significant: «The Christian Family: Good News for the Third Millennium.» Yes! The faithful and fruitful union of man and woman, blessed by the grace of Christ, constitutes an authentic Gospel of life and hope for humanity. This happy message was proclaimed, together with so many Philippine families, by the thousands of families of every race and nation, gathered in Manila for such an important religious meeting. Together they renewed the commitment to be protagonists of the new evangelization.

2. «The future of society passes by way of the family,» I wrote in the apostolic exhortation «Familiaris Consortio» (No. 86). This is an affirmation that is more important than ever. But, which family is it referring to? Certainly not that inauthentic one based on individual egotism. Experience shows that such a «caricature» of the family has no future and cannot give a future to any society.

The family, however, is «good news» in the measure in which it accepts and makes its own the perennial vocation that God gave it at the beginning of humanity. This original plan of life is shared, thanks be to God, by so many non-Christian spouses. Thus the family appears in our days as the privileged way of dialogue among different religions and cultures and, therefore, of reconciliation and peace.

3. We entrust to Mary Most Holy, «Regina familiae,» the spiritual fruits of the important Manila meeting, and already from this moment, the next world meeting of families, which will be held in 2006 in Valencia, Spain.

Let us pray so that every family, as authentic «domestic church» and «good news» of love and life, will be a sign of hope for the ecclesial community and for the whole world.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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