Fri May 11, 2007 - 12:15 pm EST
Largest-Ever Gathering of International Pro-Family Forces Opens in Warsaw Poland
WARSAW, May 11, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - More than 3,300 delegates assembled in Warsaw’s historic Palace of Culture and Science for World Congress of Families IV. They came from as far away as Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Afghanistan, Nepal, Nigeria and The Philippines.
Roman Giertych, Minister of Education and Vice Prime Minister of Poland, greeted the Congress on behalf of the Polish government. Mr. Giertych observed, "The World Congress of Families is a great honor for Poland. It is a sign that Poland is seen as the hope for Europe and the World. The family is life. Without the family, there is no state. There is no government. There is nothing."
Ellen Sauerbrey (Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Immigration) echoed Minister Giertych’s remarks: "As you know, the family is the oldest human institution, the first and most enduring community of individuals working together for the common good. The family predates all states, and can be found in every culture, in every era…. The state did not create the family; rather, families created the state."
Ambassador Sauerbrey called Poland a "remarkable country ... the second oldest constitutional democracy in the world." The Ambassador also thanked The Howard Center (sponsor of the World Congress of Families) "for all of their hard work in organizing this wonderful opportunity to celebrate and reflect upon the family and its vital role in society."
The Congress was also addressed at its opening session by Inese Slesere, a Member of the Latvian Parliament. "I have participated in the third World Congress of Families in Mexico in 2004, as well as many other pro-family conferences thoughout the world. I must admit that sharing the experiences and discussions from the World Congress have deeply influenced my work as a Member of the Parliament of The Republic of Latvia."
Ms. Slesere continued, "In the numerous meetings and conferences I have attended, I have met Parliamentarians and officials from many different countries. Almost all of them are alarmed about a similar problem—the so-called demographic winter."
Among other troubling trends the Latvian legislator noted that her nation’s population declined 13% between 1989 and 2004 (from 2.6 million to 2.3 million). The number of children aged 17 and younger has declined by almost 30%. The divorce rate (61%) is among the highest in Europe. Of all children born in 2003, 39% were born out of wedlock, compared with 17% in 1990. And in 2003 there were 691 abortions for every 1,000 births.
At a press conference preceding the opening of the Congress, Christine deVollmer, president of the Latin American Alliance for the Family, declared, "Europe has espoused not only anti-natalist policies of all kinds, but policies of sexual permissiveness which are proven to create infertility on a wide scale."
Over the next three days (through May 13, 2007) the Congress will discuss and analyze such issues impacting the family as: abortion, the move to legitimize so-called same-sex marriage, population decline, pornography, attacks on the family in news and entertainment media, as well as ways to strengthen the family through tax policy, home-based businesses and the renewal of traditional religion.
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