TODAY is the International Day of Families, a global celebration that 21 years ago, the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution 47/237 of 20 September 1993, required all member nations to observe every May 15.
The United Nations states that “this annual observance reflects the importance which the international community attaches to families as basic units of society as well as its concern regarding their situation around the world. The International Day of Families provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families, as well as to promote appropriate action. The Day can become a powerful mobilizing factor on behalf of families in all countries, which avail themselves of this opportunity and demonstrate support of family issues appropriate to each society.”
According to the organizers of 2014 as the 20th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family, celebrating this anniversary should make people refocus on “the role of families in development; take stock of recent trends in family policy development; share good practices in family policy making; review challenges faced by families worldwide and recommend solutions.”
It should also make UN and government officials—and lawmakers who have embraced the Culture of Death by means of such things as population control laws, misnamed in this country as the “Reproductive Health Act”—realize that their zeal for contraception and even abortion is anti-family.
One world leader has by words, by temporal deeds and decisions, and by divine acts of prayer, done so much more for families than most other leaders of governments and international bodies.
On Tuesday, the Roman Catholic Church’s Pope Francis issued a letter to families in which he calls on Catholics to pray for this October’s Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. The theme of this synod is “pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization.”
He told Catholic families that their “crucial support of prayer” for this event “is especially significant and more necessary than ever. This Synodal Assembly is dedicated in a special way to you, to your vocation and mission in the Church and in society; to the challenges of marriage, of family life, of the education of children; and the role of the family in the life of the Church. I ask you, therefore, to pray intensely to the Holy Spirit, so that the Spirit may illumine the Synodal Fathers and guide them in their important task.”
Pope Francis said in the letter that the extraordinary synod will be followed a year later by the Ordinary Assembly, which will also have the family as its theme. The World Meeting of Families is due to take place in Philadelphia in September 2015. The Pope wrote that through these events “the Church will undertake a true journey of discernment and adopt the necessary pastoral means to help families face their present challenges with the light and strength that comes from the Gospel.”
One of the fundamental pillars of a nation
On July 25, 2013 in Brazil for World Youth Day, Pope Francis said the family is one of the “fundamental pillars that govern a nation.” He said: “There is neither real promotion of the common good nor real human development when there is ignorance of the fundamental pillars that govern a nation, its non-material goods: life, which is a gift of God, a value always to be protected and promoted; the family, the foundation of coexistence and a remedy against social fragmentation; integral education, which cannot be reduced to the mere transmission of information for the purposes of generating profit; health, which must seek the integral well-being of the person, including the spiritual dimension, essential for human balance and healthy coexistence; security, in the conviction that violence can be overcome only by changing human hearts.”
On July 26, 2013, also in Brazil, Pope Francis said: “How precious is the family as the privileged place for transmitting the faith! Speaking about family life, I would like to say one thing: today, as Brazil and the Church around the world celebrate this feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, Grandparents Day is also being celebrated. How important grandparents are for family life, for passing on the human and religious heritage which is so essential for each and every society! How important it is to have intergenerational exchanges and dialogues, especially within the context of the family.”
Still in Brazil, on Saturday, July 27, 2013, interviewed on the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro’s Radio Catedral, Pope Francis said: “Not only would I say that the family is important for the evangelization of the new world. The family is important, and it is necessary for the survival of humanity. Without the family, the cultural survival of the human race would be at risk. The family, whether we like it or not, is the foundation.”