09/18/2008, 00.00
VATICAN
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Family to teach human and Christian values, says Card Antonelli

This is the underlying topic of the 6th World Family Meeting that will take place in Mexico City. Preparations for the event continue. Up to a million people are expected to come for the event but the Holy Father will not be present in person.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The crisis of the family, under attack in much of the world, is rooted in the family itself, in its difficulties to prepare us to receive human and Christian values. Analysing this situation and the political and social factors that affect it as well as possible ways out are the main motive for the upcoming World Family Meeting in Mexico City. Representatives of Catholic families from five continents as well as experts, political leaders and representatives of specialised organisations and associations are expected to attend.

Today at the Pontifical Council for the Family the preparatory work for the Meeting was reviewed. According to Fr Simon Vazquez, undersecretary of the dicastery, the Family Meeting will be preceded by a three-day theological-pastoral conference which will analyse pastoral and psychological aspects of the family in today’s world as well as some political-legislative contexts, especially “politics and legislation,” “family laws,” “global trends in legislation,” and “United Nations family policies.”

Organisers expect huge numbers of participants. Three months before it starts, 15,000 people have already confirmed their presence at the congress. For the Meeting itself some 600,000 people are expected with a million coming for the closing Mass at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine.

The Pope will not be physically present at the event. As the President of the Pontifical Council for the Family Card Ennio Antonelli pointed out, “as much as the Pope is well, the travel distance and Mexico City’s altitude are a problem.”

Benedict XVI will still be present by other means yet to be decided. He could send a radio message, a video message, or even a video homily and a blessing.”

“Of course, many in Mexico had high hopes that the Pope would come, at least as high as the Pope’s affection for the Mexican Church, but a pope does not always take part in a Family Congress. John Paul II for example did not attend the one in Manila.”

During the congress time will also be set aside for discussions on some aspects of the family life of divorced or remarried Catholics.

In response to journalists’ questions about the possibility that the Church might change its position on the exclusion of divorced Catholics from the Sacraments, Cardinal Antonelli said that he saw “no glimmer [of hope] in the matter. The Council of Trent was clear in asserting that the Church did not err when it said that marriage was indissoluble.”

The situation of those who are separated “is a reality that makes us suffer too,” he added, noting that the Church does provide support, help and understanding to them. “But,” he stressed, “we cannot forget that the foundation for marriage’s indissolubility lies in the Gospel.”

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