Family Meeting to Highlight Individuality, Relationships

Cardinals Present 7th World Meeting

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 22, 2012 ( The 7th World Meeting of Families at the end of this month will highlight two principal human characteristics: individuality and relation with others, says the host city’s archbishop.

Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family and Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, today presided at a press conference to present the 7th World Meeting of Families, which will take place May 30-June 3 in Milan on the theme: «The Family: Work and Celebration.»

Cardinal Antonelli focused his remarks on preparations for the forthcoming event, which was announced by the Holy Father at the end of the last World Meeting of Families, held in Mexico City in 2009. 

The cardinal listed some of the preparatory initiatives that have been organized by his council. These included: the translation of the catechesis into 11 languages; two international academic seminars on «The Christian Family as the Subject of Evangelization» (Rome 2009, 2010); the council’s 19th and 20th plenary assemblies on «The Rights of Infancy» (Rome 2010 and Rome 2011, which coincided with the thirtieth anniversary of the Apostolic Exhortation «Familiaris consortio» and of the creation of the Pontifical Council for the Family itself); an international academic seminar with pro-life associations (Rome 2010).


Cardinal Antonelli also presented the «Enchiridion,» a manual bringing together the Apostolic See’s most recent teachings on the subject of the family and human life, dating from the final years of the pontificate of John Paul II and from the pontificate of Benedict XVI. «The aim of the publication,» the cardinal explained, «is to provide a useful consultative instrument for pastoral ministers, associations, pro-life and pro-family movements, academics, teachers and politicians. It covers a wide range of subjects including: the theology and anthropology of the family, … interreligious marriage, regulation of fertility, demography, the ethic of life from conception to natural death, the ethics of health, the rights of minors, … the family as the subject of evangelization, … and attention to canonically irregular situations.»

Another volume, titled «The Family, a Resource for Society,» was also presented during the press conference. «It contains,» the president of the Pontifical Council for the Family said, «new research which throws light on the different contributions, positive and negative, which the various forms of family and cohabitation bring to society.»

The future as promise

For his part Cardinal Scola noted that the theme of the Milan meeting, «by bringing together the three fundamental aspects of man’s daily life — family, work and rest — highlights two major traits … of human experience all over the world: the uniqueness of individuals and the fact that they are always in relation with others. Thus this 7th World Meeting of Families has interpreted the perennial importance of these questions, and of this particular historical moment.»

The archbishop of Milan went on: «The family founded on faithful marriage between a man and a woman, and open to life, over and above all the cultural developments that have affected it, still imposes itself as the best way to generate and raise children. In the family, the child … sees the future as a promise. From infancy we all discover the meaning of work, first as school work and them as a profession. Through work … we develop complex social relationships. … We discover a taste for building, … but above all we gain a sense of reciprocal trust, which is the vital cement of human coexistence.»

«Life imposes its rhythm on us,» he added. «It requires us to establish an order between family affections and work. In doing this we are helped by rest, which marks the rhythm of life. … Celebration is the apex of rest, a gratuitous and shared use of time and space which is a source of joy. Man becomes reconciled with himself, with others and with God. It is no coincidence that all religious traditions have always utilized celebration.»

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