What Comes 1st? Good Laws or Good Families?

Interview With Father Cantalamessa

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By Mercedes de la Torre

MEXICO CITY, JAN. 27, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The preacher of the Pontifical Household says that today’s Christians should follow the example of their first predecessors: bring a change to society with their testimony rather than focusing on changing laws.

Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa suggested this strategy in his address to the theological congress at the 6th World Meeting of Families, held Jan. 14-18 in Mexico City.

In this interview with ZENIT, he explains the challenge he sees facing Christian families.

Q: One of the great problems with families of our times — as you affirmed — is the lack of love. What solution can families of today, faced with modern problems, find in sacred Scripture?

Father Cantalamessa: As I said in my address, marriage is born of humility, of an act of humility; it is to recognize your dependence, the need for another, and it does not stay alive and healthy without humility. Pride is the No. 1 enemy of marriage and causes love to disappear.

I think that today, more than defending Christian matrimony in face of society and culture, we have to improve the quality of the Christian family, [and] work so that Christian families are truly a place where the initial plan of God is fulfilled, which is that man and woman experience within the couple a love that brings them to desire the infinite and eternal Love.

Q: During your conference, you affirmed that Christians should engage the world more with acts than with words, as it was in the first centuries of the Church. Could you tell us then what richness we can find in the biblical message to restore the testimony in favor of the Gospel, of life and of the family?

Father Cantalamessa: I have said — and I think — that the first Christians, especially in the first three centuries, changed the laws of the state with their customs. Now we cannot pretend to do the opposite, that is, change customs with the laws of the state. As citizens we should do everything possible so that the state adopts good laws, positive laws that are not contrary to life, but this is not enough. It is not enough because in a pluralistic society like that of today, Christians in certain countries are already the minority and thus we are closer to the situation of the first centuries than the Middle Ages, when Christians were not defended by the state, but by their lives and their testimony.

Q: What is the current deconstruction of the family and how is this opposed to the plan of God, as you explained in Mexico?

Father Cantalamessa: They are extreme situations: It is as if man wanted to reinvent man, woman, marriage … with certain «un-human» conclusions. For example the project of abolishing the sexes, this plan according to which there is not a defined sex, [and] in which each one constructs his life according to his desire for masculinity, femininity or something more variable — it is unacceptable, of course. It goes against human nature.

The deconstructionism also proposes to abolish maternity, because it sees maternity as slavery. The woman is enslaved by maternity so it is thought to give birth to children in another, very artificial way. These are truly dangerous proposals — «un-human.»

I have a lot of confidence in people’s common sense and also in instincts, in the desire for the opposite sex that God has placed in the person and the desire for maternity and paternity, which are values that God has placed in the human heart. But I think that these proposals can do a lot of damage, like Marxism. Marxism has been recognized as a great evil for society, but it left a lot of victims. In the same way this revolution — the gender revolution — before being recognized as something «un-human,» can cause a lot of damage.

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