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As he preps for US visit, Pope urges couples to be missionaries in defense of true marriage

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ROME, September 11, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Pope Francis urged Catholic married couples yesterday to fearlessly embrace as a specific mission the defense of marriage between one man and and one woman while helping to form young couples in the faith “before and after their marriage.”

The Pope’s message to married couples comes just a week and a half before he is set to visit the US for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. The message is significant in light of the June U.S. Supreme Court ruling that redefined marriage by allowing same-sex couples to wed.

“This mission, which is entrusted to them, is all the more important in as much as the image of the family — as God wills it, made up of one man and one woman in view of the good of the spouses and also of the generation and education of children — is deformed through powerful contrary projects supported by ideological colonizations,” the pope said in an address to members of the Équipes Notre-Dame (Teams of Our Lady) in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace.

The pope explained “ideological colonization” to reporters in January, saying that by this phrase he refers to the process by which good people are forced by activists to conform to a perverse ideology.

“[Activists] enter with an idea that has nothing to do with the people; but with groups of people yes, but not with the people. It colonizes the people with an idea that wants to change a mentality or a structure,” he said at that time. “During the Synod, the African bishops lamented this: certain loans on certain conditions,” he said, making a clear reference to the Western practice of imposing a homosexual agenda on developing nations through foreign aid, something that he compared to the Nazi propaganda machine.

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In his message to married couples yesterday, the pope stressed that families are “vital cells of our societies and of the Church,” noting how marriage and family “as God wills it” is “threatened in the present difficult cultural context.” Despite this threat, he said, now is the time, more than ever before, for families to take up the mission of evangelization to other families who do not know the saving power of Jesus.

“Christian couples and families are often in better conditions to proclaim Jesus Christ to other families, to support, fortify and encourage them,” he said.

“What you live as a couple and as a family…the profound and irreplaceable joy that the Lord makes you feel in your domestic intimacy between the joys and sorrows, in the happiness of the presence of your spouse, in the growth of your children, in the human and spiritual fruitfulness that He grants you, all this is witnessed, proclaimed and communicated outside so that others, in turn, will put themselves on this path.”

As part of the couples’ “missionary commitment” he encouraged them to be “instruments of the mercy of Christ and of the Church towards persons whose marriage has failed.”

“Never forget that your conjugal fidelity is a gift of God, and that mercy has been given to each one of us. A united and happy couple can understand better than anyone else, as from inside, the wound and the suffering caused by an abandonment, a betrayal, a failure of love.”

The Teams of Our Lady began in France in the 1930s and is now a movement that has spread to countries around the world. Founder Father Enrico Caffarel’s cause for Beatification is being looked into by the Vatican.

The pope praised the spirituality of The Teams, especially its focus on a couple praying together before the Lord, encouraging members to “put [it] into practice and to live [it] in depth, with constancy and perseverance.”

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