In his address to the Forum of Italian Family Associations, the Pope called on Christian families to be “rooted in the homeland and at the same time open to the world“.
(Vatican News Network)The family is a “gift of joy that inspires gratitude”. Pope Francis said so when he received the Italian Family Association Forum on December 2. He thanked these associations for giving voice to families in Italy. That “is not a voice of complaint, but a constructive voice; not an ideological voice, but a voice that can interpret the needs of families”.
The Pope first commended the members of the Association for “bearing witness to the joy of the family”, which is the core message of the Apostolic Exhortation “Joy of Love”. A happy family does not necessarily have everything going smoothly and without problems. “Families, as we all know, have good times and hard times. However, in all these situations there can be joy, because the joy lies on a deeper level, stemming precisely from one’s family identity”. Family is a gift “with an intimate sense of gratitude”.
There is no one-size-fits-all model for the family. “Every family has its own path and experience”, said the Pope, and many families strive to move forward, following not a secular model, but a “style” of simplicity and service.
Furthermore, the Pope encourages “good policies for and with families”. The pope urged those present to take an open and comprehensive approach, seeking the “public interest”.
Christian families should not sweep their own door. The characteristics of a Christian family are openness, acceptance and support, and it starts with neighbors. “The family is called to be a factor of fraternity and human friendship, rooted in the homeland and at the same time open to the world“.
Referring to the phenomenon of low fertility, the Pope called for the issue to be placed on the policy agenda. “You don’t just condemn an issue. It’s so easy. Try to follow its development and make practical proposals,” the Pope told the crowd.
The Pope concluded by encouraging husbands and wives and families to take care of each other. They should make time for prayer, conversation, community life in the Church and “time to play with the children”.
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