ROME, October 25, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The family founded on marriage is the “natural centre of human life” and protecting children and elderly people is a “choice of civilisation,” Pope Francis said in an address Friday morning. Speaking to the 21 plenary meeting of the Pontifical Council for the Family, the pope said, “Children and the elderly represent the two poles of life and also the most vulnerable, the most often forgotten.”
“A society that abandons children and that marginalizes the elderly will sever its roots and dark future,” he said.
“The family is founded on marriage,” the pope said. “Through an act of free and faithful love, newlywed Christians testify that marriage as sacrament, is the foundation on which rests the family and makes stronger the union of spouses and their mutual self-giving.”
“The family is the engine of the world and of history. Everyone builds their own personality in the family, growing up with a mom and dad, brothers and sisters, breathing in the warmth of home.”
The meeting is focusing its discussions this year on the Charter of Rights of the Family, issued by the Vatican on October 22, 1983. Last month at a press conference, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, described the family as the subject of rights based on those of the individual. “The family is a communion of persons, and its self-realisation depends to a significant degree on the correct application of the rights of those who compose this unit.”
“Some of these rights are directly related to the family, such as the right of parents to responsible procreation and the education of their offspring; other rights, instead, relate to the nuclear family only indirectly.” Archbishop Paglia said it is “unfortunate” that the Charter is one of the least known of Vatican documents, and called it “a prophetic appeal in favour of the institution of the family, which should be respected and defended from all forms of usurpation.”
In his address this morning, Pope Francis added that Christians have the responsibility to “communicate to all” in “secularized societies” that “families really are recognised by Christian faithfulness, patience, openness to life and respect of elders.”
Last month, in an address to the Associations of Catholic Doctors, Pope Francis was blunt as to the Christian responsibility to oppose abortion. He called opposition to killing the unborn one of the “non-negotiable values,” having previously described abortion as “a death sentence.”
There is, in secular society, he said, “a widespread mentality of profit, the ‘culture of waste,’ which now enslaves the hearts and minds of many, and has a very high cost. It requires to eliminate human beings, especially if they are physically or socially weaker. Our response to this mentality is a decided and unhesitating ‘yes’ to life.”
In today’s world, he warned doctors, the “cultural disorientation” means there is a pressing “danger that the doctor might lose its identity as a servant of life.” Quoting the encyclical Caritas in Veritate, by his predecessor, Benedict XVI, Francis added, “Openness to life is at the center of true development.”
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“The paradoxical situation is seen in the fact that while you give the person new rights, sometimes even alleged rights, does not always protect the life as a primary value and basic right of every man. The final objective of a doctor is always the defense and promotion of life.”
“Every child who is not born, but unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ, the Lord’s face, before he was born…And every senior, …every elderly, sick person or those at the end of his days, carries the face of Christ. You can not discard, [this is] the ‘culture of waste’! You cannot discard!”