06/01/2012, 00.00
VATICAN - ITALY

Card. Antonelli: “Normal” families key overcoming crisis and future of world

by Bernardo Cervellera
The president of Pontifical Council for the Family draws conclusions from the Congress for the VII World Meeting: “the normal family "(husband, wife and children) is the foundation for the rebirth of society, in the midst of a profound economic, but also cultural, crisis. Mayor of Milan promises a "register of civil unions" in favour of homosexual unions. The request to politicians: less taxes, more support to couple and procreation, more services for education. And the business world: flexible hours, part time, the possibility to work from home, maternity leave, parental leave, child care services. Sunday, as a day of rest, has a positive effect on the workplace and society.

Milan (AsiaNews) - "The normal family is not the family of the past, but of the future, if we want to have a future" is the conclusion of the Card. Ennio Antonelli, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, at the end of the Theological-Pastoral Congress ahead of the VII World Meeting being held in Milan. Going against trends, a style that has characterized the whole event, the cardinal distanced himself from the form of advertising present in the media and public opinion that portray  homosexual couples, families with many fathers and mothers, or changing life-partners. In his final address, the at FieraMilanoCity this morning, he said that "the different ways of being family are not equivalent." He stressed the importance of "normal families", that consist of men and women, with two or more children. The fact - new to the church world - is that this statement is not only justified by the Bible or the Church's teaching, but from scientific, statistical and sociological data. In fact, these families are "normal", "the happiest and also the most benefit to society." It must be said that in the days of the Meeting of families, the mayor of Milan, Giuliano Pisapia, has announced his decision to open a "register of civil unions" later this year to render - at least in public registers, civil unions equal to marriages.

For Card. Antonelli, only by appreciating "normal families" will be begin to emerge from the global crisis, even though "in many countries [they] are becoming a minority, because they are penalised by the State and the marketplace."

"The current crisis that is worrying populations and governments - said the cardinal - should not only to be considered an economic crisis, but also, more profoundly, an anthropological and cultural crisis. The culture of individualism, utilitarianism, consumerism, relativism largely pervades customs, media communications, economics, politics. "

"In this cultural context - he continued - in which the person is reduced to the individual, society to personal interests, enjoyment and happiness, truth to opinion, even family, work and rest is reduced and distorted" .

Even the family and, therefore, is a victim of this crisis: "From the economic point of view, the family is not considered a productive subject of human capital and benefit to society, but only a subject of consumption and therefore individual incomes are taxed, regardless of family commitments. This weakness the family culturally, legally and economically and this is evidenced by a series of disturbing phenomena: a drop in the number of marriages, increasing divorce, cohabitation, of people remaining singles by choice, falling birth rates, an increase in children born outside of marriage, educational disengagement, existential malaise, abandoned elderly, the economic impoverishment of divorced people ".

"To overcome the crisis - Card. Antonelli continues - a cultural, anthropological rather than economic revolution is needed at a global level,." And this revolution must begin with the "triple blessing" described in the Book of Genesis: that of a man and woman; of generation and labor; of celebration (cf. Gen 1 & 2): "Three Blessings, three gifts of God three dimensions of life, which combine to form identity, development and human happiness".

The cardinal traced a few paths to follow: gratuity, this gifting of oneself must also be present in work and economy; a "reasonable profit" should be channelled into the "common good" and he confirms that "the most specific contribution of families to the economic system consists in the formation of human capital ", which has become the real resource for the wealth of nations.

These were followed by a few requests to political and economic leaders: lower taxes, more support for the couple and procreation, more services to education. At the same time, "businesses for their part, should become more family-friendly out of human solidarity and in their own best interest." Card. Antonelli lists some requirements, "flexible hours, the possibility to work part-time, from home, maternity leave, parental leave, child care services. Harmonization also affects the working man, but especially working women, who should not be forced to choose between motherhood and professional work. "

A final point made by the Cardinal was Sunday as a day of rest, which benefits not only the workplace but also society as a whole: " Sunday, if it is celebrated well, gives meaning and beauty even to ordinary life; it imbues even weekdays with celebration. Thus the family becomes a place of daily joy, good humour, playfulness, concern and mutual commitment, of affective and relational wealth, of reasonable moderation in consumption. The workplace environment becomes friendly, of activity full of meaning and carried out with satisfaction, sometimes even festive moments with colleagues, to celebrate birthdays, wedding anniversaries, births of children, career advancement. "

"The culture of individualism, utilitarianism, consumerism, relativism - Card. Antonelli concluded - has impoverished human relations and undermined the trust between people, it has caused the crisis in the economy, work and family. The rediscovery of ' man as an essentially relational subject and care for the good quality of relationships will lead to overcoming the crisis of work and family. "

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