BARCELONA, Spain, MAY 12, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Pontifical Council for the Family will coordinate the efforts of dioceses around the world to promote laws, projects and research that work toward strengthening the family.
Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, the president of the family dicastery, spoke last Thursday in Barcelona of the new initiative at a meeting. A press statement from the Archdiocese of Barcelona said the council would work with various episcopal conferences “to sensitize public opinion in favor of positive laws regarding families.”
The cardinal also noted some pastoral initiatives that could be used in parishes to help the family, such as the creations of family groups directed by well-formed married couples, and the promotion of “family meetings of dialogue, prayer [and] friendship.”
Cardinal Antonelli also proposed that marriage preparation begin early in a couple’s relationship, and that they be “helped to discover what Christian life is, […] what a relationship with Jesus Christ and the Church is, [proper] attitudes about money and sexuality, forgiveness, the spirit of sacrifice and the importance of prayer.”
According to the cardinal, the current family is weak due to influence of modern society, which is relativistic and individualistic, but also because of the lack of religious conviction on the part of parents. He also noted the disintegration that is caused by separation and divorce.
Quoting Benedict XVI, the cardinal said the family is experiencing an “educational emergency,” and that as the family grows weaker, children are growing up with shallow religious and human convictions.
Cardinal Antonelli affirmed that the family should be the place where the vocation to love is developed, and the place where children learn about sharing, living with others, solidarity, and respect for others.