New Marriage Preparation Guide Coming Soon

Cardinal Speaks About Family Life and Work

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 27, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Pontifical Council for the Family is affirming that it aims to release its new marriage preparation handbook for the 2012 World Meeting of Families.

Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, the council president, presented the plan for the marriage preparation vademecum to Benedict XVI last February. In a press conference on Friday, the council leaders stated that they hope to complete the project by the 2012 world meeting, which will take place May 30 to June 3 in Milan, Italy.

The press conference was called for the presentation of a letter from the Pope, written for the occasion of this 7th World Meeting of Families.

Cardinal Antonelli told journalists that this letter offers «precious» elements «to guide reflection in local Churches» on the importance of the reconciliation between family life and work.

The theme of the world gathering in Milan is «The Family: Work and Celebration.”

The letter, said the cardinal, «presents the family, work and feast days as blessings and gifts of God, intimately united and necessary for human and integral development.»

Human relations

He added that to live and develop, man needs, on one hand, instrumental goods that are desired in view of something more, and on the other, «free goods that are desired for themselves.»

«Understanding of the useful and of the gratuitous, as the recent encyclical ‘Caritas in Veritate’ happily stressed, is indispensable for persons, for society and for economic efficiency itself,» the prelate pointed out.

He warned that, increasingly, «the logic of the greatest output tends to increase production and consumption, in detriment of human relations and spiritual values.»

The cardinal expressed his concern over the fact that, at times, an employee is forced to work seven days a week and that the day of rest is dedicated solely to evasion and not to activities that elevate the spirit and foster family ties.

He also mentioned his disconcert over the fact that, in some cases, bosses consider single persons more productive, given that they do not have family responsibilities. 

Cardinal Antonelli stated that many times the family «does not receive adequately the cultural, juridical, economic and political support» that it needs, and thus it is subjected to the «weighty conditioning of complex, disintegrating dynamics.»

The worker must always see his productivity within a company «not as the greatest output at any cost but as just output compatible with the exigencies of the jobs, families, the society, the protection of the environment, offering in work relations a flexibility to the measure of the family,» said the cardinal.

Domestic life

He spoke about domestic work, urging for its allocation with the common agreement of the members of the family.

The prelate invited spouses to assume a lifestyle «inspired in sobriety, attention to personal relations, openness to the ecclesial community and to the needs of one’s neighbor.»

He said that the day of rest should be observed «in such a way that it can illumine the meaning of life and of work itself, reinforcing the concession of the family and its insertion in the community, reliving the relationship with the person of Christ, Lord and Savior, who accompanies us on our daily journey.»

For his part, Auxiliary Bishop Erminio de Scalzi of Milan, who is helping organize the 7th World Meeting of Families, thanked the Pope for having chosen this city of northern Italy as the venue for this event and said that the topic «is particularly full of meaning.»

Referring to the question of work and of days off, he said that they are «necessary dimensions and closely united to the point that they give one another reciprocal meaning.»

The bishop added that this city «feels itself particularly called in by the subject of the meeting, also because the traditional Ambrosian laboriousness can run the risk of putting work and profession at the center of life, sacrificing the days of rest,» despite the fact that the Pope considers them «gifts and blessings of God to help us to live a fully human existence.»

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On ZENIT’s Web page:

Papal Letter for 7th World Meeting of Families: http://zenit.org/article-30476?l=english

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