Love must be the core of family life
by Elise Harris
VATICAN CITY (CNA)
Photo: Pope Francis delivers a homily during the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in 2015. Next year's World Meeting of Families will take place in Dublin. (Credit: Lisa Johnston, St. Louis Review / CNS)
Pope Francis issued a message ahead of the 2018 World Meeting of Families, saying couples and families should root their relationships in the love of God, which then propels them to joyfully share it with others.
“I wish to underline how important it is for families to ask themselves often if they live based on love, for love and in love,” the Pope said in his message.
In practice, “this means giving oneself, forgiving, not losing patience, anticipating the other, respecting,” as well as living and repeating daily the phrases “please,” “thank you” and “I’m sorry.”
Because of the daily experience we have of weakness and fragility, both families and pastors need a “renewed humility” that will allow them to learn and educate, to help, accompany, discern and educate people from all backgrounds and situations.
“I dream of an outbound Church, not a self-referential one, a Church that does not pass by far from man’s wounds, a merciful Church that proclaims the heart of the revelation of God as Love, which is mercy,” he said, adding that “it is this very mercy that makes us new in love.”
“We know how much Christian families are a place of mercy and witnesses of mercy, and even more so after the extraordinary Jubilee,” he said, adding that “the Dublin meeting will be able to offer concrete signs of this.”
The World Meeting of Families will take place Aug. 22-26, 2018, in Dublin and will follow the theme “The Gospel of family, joy for the world.” Given the theme, catechesis for the event will focus specifically on the content of the Pope’s 2016 post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia.
In his letter, the Pope said organizers have “the task of translating in a special way the teaching of Amoris Laetitia, with which the Church wishes families always to be in step, in that inner pilgrimage that is the manifestation of authentic life.”
While discussion on the document is often reduced to footnote 351 of Chapter 8 on communion for divorced and remarried couples, both Cardinal Farrell and Archbishop Martin said there’s much more to the document, which they hope to convey to the families that come.
“It is so important when we live in a world where family comes under attack from many different sources and many different ideologies, that we explain what we believe as Catholics, as Christians, in married life,” Cardinal Farrell said, explaining that many times the Church fails to teach what marriage is about.
Similarly, Archbishop Martin told CNA that while the family “is under attack from ideologies” pushed by modern secular society, if they were to ask families how they are being “attacked,” the answers would overwhelmingly centre on the day-to-day struggles of how to make ends meet and troubles they might be facing in raising their children.