Pope Commends Large Families and “Faithfulness and Generosity in Welcoming Children”

Mon Jan 19, 2009 - 12:15 pm EST

By John-Henry Westen

VATICAN CITY, January 19, 2009 ( - In a video message aired in Mexico City yesterday at the Sixth World Meeting of Families, Pope Benedict XVI called urgently for "public witness and commitment from all the baptised in order to reaffirm the dignity and the unique and irreplaceable value of the family, founded on the marriage of a man and a woman and open to life."

Benedict XVI emphasized how, "with the strength that comes from prayer, the family becomes a community of disciples and missionaries of Christ. ... Through the experience of filial obedience to God, faithfulness and generosity in welcoming children, care for the weakest and readiness to forgive, the family becomes a living Gospel which everyone may read."

Given its central role as the building block of society, the Holy Father stressed the obligations of the state regarding the family. "Because of its essential social function the family has the right for its specific identity to be recognised and not confused with other forms of coexistence. It must also be ensured adequate cultural, juridical, economic, social and health protection," he said.  "In particular it must be afforded a support which, bearing in mind the number of children and the economic resources available, is sufficient to enable freedom of education and the choice of school." 

He encouraged the families to join pro-family organizations to protect the authentic marriage, and work for just legislation.

Benedict XVI concluded by encouraging large families "who, though sometimes experiencing difficulties and misunderstandings, give an example of generosity and trust in God," expressing the hope that "they may not lack the aid they need."

(with files from the Vatican Information Service)

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