Holy Father Addresses Family March

More Than 2 Million Participate

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 1, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI greeted more than 2 million participants in a pro-family march in Madrid, urging them to be witnesses “of the beauty of human love.”

The Pope said this Sunday before praying the Angelus together with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square. His words could be heard via video link by those who congregated in the Plaza de Colon in Madrid to promote the Christian family.

The event in Madrid was organized by the archdiocese with the support of ecclesial movements as well as pro-life and pro-family organizations.

Addressing the participants in Spanish, the Holy Father said: “I invite all Christian families to experience the loving presence of the Lord in their lives. I encourage them, inspired by love of Christ for all mankind, to give witness before the world of the beauty of human love, marriage and family.

“This, founded in the indissoluble union between a man and a woman, constitutes the privileged environment in which human life is welcomed and protected, from its beginning until its natural end.”

The Pontiff underlined the “right and fundamental obligation” of parents “to educate their children, in the faith and in the values that dignify human existence.”

“It is worth it to work for the family and marriage,” continued Benedict XVI, “because it is worth it to work for the human being, the most valuable being created by God.”

Cardinal Antonio Ruoco, archbishop of Madrid, said to the crowds that the family is “objectively the most serious problem that European societies face today.”

He added that “the idea of marriage and family is radically relativized,” and that lifestyles “opposed to the value of the indissoluble love between a man and a woman” are being promoted among the youth.

The cardinal recalled that in the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights the family is recognized as the “natural and fundamental nucleus of society,” and that it should be protected by society and the state.

Cardinal Ruoco added, “A Christian response to this crucial question is urgent and crucial for our future, that of Spain, of Europe and of all of humankind.”

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