Extraordinary Consistory of Cardinals Begins

Pope Stresses Importance of the Family as Fundamental Cell of Human Society

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The Church is called to acknowledge the beauty and importance of the family for the world and for humanity.

This was the reflection Pope Francis shared with the College of Cardinals this morning at the start of the Extraordinary Consistory. The consistory will reflect on the theme of the family, ahead of the synod of bishops in October whose theme will be ‘The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of the Evangelization’.

Before the start of the meeting, the Holy Father spent time greeting the cardinals informally. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, began with an address, thanking the Pope for convoking the consistory to discuss the ‘Gospel of the Family’.

“It is a timely subject and will be studied on a much greater scale in the next Assembly of the Episcopal Synod. In reality, such is the importance that the family is assuming in the modern world, that Pope John Paul II wrote in his Apostolic Exhortation “Familiaris Consortio” these lapidary words: ‘the fate of mankind depends rests upon the family’”, Cardinal Sodano said.

In his brief remarks, the Holy Father welcomed those present, especially the prelates who will be created cardinals on Saturday.

Regarding the theme of the family, which he described as the “fundamental cell of society”, the Pope stressed the need for the cardinals to reflect on the beauty of family and marriage.

“We will seek to deepen the theology of the family and discern the pastoral practices which our present situation requires,” he said. “May we do so thoughtfully and without falling into ‘casuistry’, because this would inevitably diminish the quality of our work.”

Concluding his remarks, Pope Francis observed that in today’s world, the family is looked down upon. For this reason, it is crucial that the Church acknowledges how indispensable the family “is for the life of the world and for the future of humanity.”

“We are called to make known God’s magnificent plan for the family and to help spouses joyfully experience this plan in their lives, as we accompany them amidst so many difficulties. And also with a pastoral that is intelligent, courageous and full of heart,” he said. (J.A.E.)

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