Pope Urges Public Help for Big Families

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 3, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Large families are genuine testimonies of «optimism» and must be supported with appropriate social and legislative measures, says Benedict XVI.

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The Pope expressed this conviction at the end of the Wednesday general audience in St. Peter’s Square when greeting representatives of the Italian Association of Large Families.

«Your presence gives me the opportunity to recall the central character of the family, the fundamental cell of society and primary place of acceptance and service to life,» the Holy Father told the parents, many of whom were accompanied by their children.

«In the present social context, family nuclei with many children are a testimony of faith, courage and optimism, as without children there is no future!» he exclaimed, prompting applause and smiles from those present.

«I hope that more social and legislative measures will be promoted in defense and support of the largest families, which constitute a richness and hope for the whole country,» Benedict XVI concluded.

The Italian Association of Large Families is holding its first congress, in Castelfusano, near Rome, attended by 2,500 people.

The congress said that Italy in 1960 had 3.5 million families with at least four children; in 2003 that number dropped to 300,000 such families.

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