Monday February 8, 2010

Pope: Family Necessary for Child Development

By James Tillman

VATICAN CITY, February 8, 2010 ( – On Monday morning, Pope Benedict XVI, speaking to the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, condemned child abuse and spoke of how stable families are necessary for the proper development of children.

“The Church over the centuries, following the example of Christ, has promoted the dignity and rights of children,” the pope said. He continued: “Jesus’ harsh words against those who offend one of these little ones are an admonition to everyone never to lower the level of this respect and love.”

The best chance children have of developing properly, he said, is found in a family because of the uniquely complementary roles played by husband and wife.

“The family founded on marriage between a man and a woman is the greatest help that can be given to children,” he stated. “They want to be loved by a mother and a father who love one another, and they need to dwell, grow and live with both parents, because the maternal and paternal figures complement one another in the education of children and in the formation of their personality and identity.”

“It is important, then, that everything possible be done to ensure they grow up in a united and stable family.”

The pope said that “a troubled family environment, the division of the parents and, in particular, separation through divorce, are not without consequences for children. Supporting the family and promoting its true good, its rights, its unity and stability is the best way to protect the rights and the real needs of children.”

The pope’s statements echoed what he said on Wednesday, when, after praying the Angelus, he spoke of how it is necessary to “to promote integral human development in order to overcome want and need, and above all to recall that the goal of each man and women is not well-being, but God Himself.”

He continued: “No-one, in fact, is master of his own existence; rather, we are all called to safeguard and respect life, from the moment of conception until natural end.”

The Pontifical Council for the Family was created by John Paul II in 1981 by the Motu Proprio Familia a Deo Instituta. It handles the theology of the family, familial spirituality, the rights of the family, and marriage preparation courses, among other issues.