“Families are a kind of leaven that helps to make the world more humane and more fraternal, where no one feels rejected or abandoned.”
The Holy Father underscored this as he addressed the European Federation of Catholic Family Associations (FAFCE) yesterday morning in the Vatican. Representing Catholic family associations from 14 European countries, FAFCE has participatory status with the Council of Europe.
Recognizing that their meeting yesterday brought families from many countries of Europe to Rome, the Pope reiterated: “Families are not museum pieces, but through them, the gift is made concrete in mutual commitment and generous openness to children, but also in service to society.”
Applauding that their various activities all work toward integral service to the family, “which is the fundamental cell of society,” Francis said: “Your activity should help remind everyone that there is no better ally for the integral progress of society than to favour the presence of families in the social fabric.”
“Today too, the family is the foundation of society and it remains the most suitable structure for ensuring for people the integral good necessary for their continuing development.”
The unity of all the members of the family, and the fraternal commitment of the family with society, Francis said, are allies of the common good and of peace, also in Europe.
Communion of Persons
The family is the interpersonal relationship par excellence, inasmuch as it is a communion of persons.
“Your relationships as spouses, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, make it possible for every person to find a place in the human family.”
Four crises in particular, Francis said, affect Europe at the present time: demographics, migration, employment and education.
“These crises might find positive outcomes precisely in the culture of encounter, if different social, economic and political actors were to join in shaping policies supportive of families.”
To carry out this demanding work, he said, “the family cannot remain isolated like a nomad.”
“Families need to go out from themselves; they need to dialogue and to encounter others, in order to build a unity that is not uniformity and that can generate progress and advance the common good.”
After also reminding them to appreciate the wisdom of the elderly, Pope Francis concluded, giving them his blessing and reminding them to pray for him.
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