Pope: may the family teach fraternity open to the whole world

In a meeting with the Forum of Italian Family Associations, Francis mentioned the contribution of missionary magazines to bringing families “a lot of news about distant countries and peoples.” Concerned about the demographic winter, he says: “We need children!” In fact, “it is a question of going from words to deeds; then to move from palliatives to a real and effective therapy.”

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis met in the Vatican with members of the Forum of Italian Family Associations today.

In his address, the pontiff  said that “a Christian family can never turn inward. It cannot say: ‘We are fine, let others fend for themselves’.”

Likewise, he “stressed that the family is called to be a factor of fraternity and social friendship, rooted in a territory, yet open to the world."

“The Christian family - but I would say every family based on love - is open and attentive to what happens outside the home; it tries to be welcoming and supportive, starting with one’s neighbours, building, area, up to those at the broader social level, as well as in other countries and continents.”

In this regard, Pope Francis expressly cited the contribution made to the family since the 19th century by missionary magazines that bring "to the homes of the simplest people, together with the stories of missionaries, also a lot of news about distant countries and peoples".

The pontiff went on to underscore the role of family associations in “stimulating a good policy for and with families".

This is “a high and broad political commitment, as a contribution to the common good of the country, so that families are not exploited and then penalised, but are [instead] promoted and supported".

Referring to the idea of demographic winter, with a low birth rate in many countries, he noted that for politicians, "it is a question of going from words to deeds; then to move from palliatives to real and effective therapy".

“Let me reiterate this,” he added, “we are experiencing a serious demographic winter and we must react, with all our might, our work, and our ideas to convince.

“My secretary told me that the other day, passing through St Peter's Square, he saw a lady with a baby carriage, she wanted to look at the children ... And there was a little dog inside! It's a symbol. This is why I say: It takes children. We need children."

At the start of his address, Francis spoke of the joyful experience of being a family, which is at the centre of his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetita. “The joy of being a family,”  he explained, “does not mean that everything is fine, that there are no problems. . . . No, that's not it.

"We all know that family life is made up of happy moments and painful ones, more serene times and more difficult, even sometimes harder ones.

“Yet, there is a joy that can survive all these situations, because it is at a deeper level, and that comes precisely from being a family, felt like a gift, with an intimate sense of gratitude.

“This gratitude is addressed, first of all, to God, and then to our ancestors, great-grandparents, grandparents, parents; but also to children and grandchildren, and of course, the little ones regenerate Amoris Laetitia in the elderly and adults.”