VATICAN CITY, JAN. 9, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Even though the institution of the family is experiencing a crisis all around the globe, it remains a pillar of Mexican society, according to the president of the Pontifical Council of the Family.
Cardinal Ennio Antonelli commented today on the status of the family in Mexico ahead of the VI World Meeting of Families, which will take place Jan. 14-18 in the nation’s capital.
The meeting, which has as its theme “The Family as Educator in Human and Christian Virtues,” will be attended by some 30 cardinals, 200 bishops and delegations of families from all continents.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope’s secretary of state, will attend as the Pope’s legate and will preside at the closing Mass, to be held at the Marian shrine of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
In presenting the meeting at a press conference in the Vatican, Cardinal Antonelli said that in Mexico the “family remains the principal institution of aid and solidarity.”
“Abortion, divorce, euthanasia, questions associated with bioethics, though far removed from popular culture and practices, are also penetrating the mentality of Mexicans,” he continued.
Speaking of the situation of families in general, he said, “Families today have to face […] the challenge of an individualistic and consumerist culture.” He noted the added challenge of the “absence of shared values.”
The Italian prelate also said that young people are often “misguided and parents unmotivated.”
Cardinal Antonelli also spoke of the need to educate children in the faith, and that belief isn’t something “one automatically inherits.”
He also spoke of the family as a place to cultivate “virtue and the experience of feeling loved.” In the family, the cardinal explained, one learns “the sense of solidarity, of the dignity of the person, of loyalty, of cooperation.” He called family a “laboratory of civil coexistence.”
“Unfortunately,” Cardinal Antonelli added, “we have a mistaken concept of freedom, which is understood as self-sufficient autonomy.”
He explained that with this “misguided mentality, laws often are passed — without broad social consensus and under the influence of small but active pressure groups, highly ideological and with large economic resources — that enable and facilitate abortion, rapid divorce and euthanasia.”
The cardinal said that the “Church is making great efforts of evangelization, supporting Christian families in their values and encouraging a wide-ranging strategy to promote and defend life from conception to natural death.”
“Thanks be to God,” Cardinal Antonelli said, “over the last few years numerous initiatives, both ecclesial and civil, have come into being at the service of the family.”