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Civil, Religious Leaders Unite for Inauguration

Mexican President Helps Get Family Meeting Underway

MEXICO CITY, JAN. 14, 2009 ( Both civil and religious authorities came together to point out that the family constitutes the basis for the identity of the person and of society, during today’s opening of the 6th World Meeting of Families.

During the inauguration of this international event being attended by almost 10,000 persons, Mexican President Felipe Calderón emphasized that in order to have a country with greater personal security and freedom from drugs — which he described as the slavery of the 21st century — it is necessary to strengthen the family. In analyzing the struggle against drug trafficking, Calderón noted that many drug traffickers and people living in violent circumstances have suffered from dysfunctional families.

Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, for his part told the participants from five continents: “We are many and one in virtue of Christ and the Holy Spirit. […] We represent different peoples and cultures of the People of God; Catholic families of the Church and from civil society are here.”

Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop of Mexico City and host of the 6th World Meeting of Families, recognized different attacks against the family, but assured everyone that “the family continues as a standard-bearer of society. […] Mexico opens its doors to the world. Mexico, the country where Mary of Guadalupe appeared to St. Juan Diego, is your family.”

The president of the Mexican episcopal conference, Bishop Carlos Aguiar Retes, reaffirmed that the family is the patrimony of humanity and the school of the faith. He warned, however, of dangers such as ethical relativism, poverty and laws that are contrary to the family. He made a special call for a greater consciousness of and commitment to work for the family and society.

The inauguration of the 6th World Meeting of Families was covered by more than 500 journalists reporting to media outlets all over the world.

During the event, Calderón sent a message to Benedict XVI: In Mexico, we are waiting for you with open arms.

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