By Gudrun Schultz

  COLOGNE, Germany, January 11, 2007 ( – Germany’s leading Cardinal has established a fund of €7 million ($9.1 million) dedicated to supporting marriage and the family.

  Cardinal Joachim Meisner, Archbishop of Cologne diocese and the most influential Catholic leader in the country, has declared 2007 the “Year of Marriage and the Family” in Cologne, Zenit News Agency reported yesterday.

  Pledging increased support for family life, Cardinal Meisner called for greater courage in promoting marriage and the family.
“Fathers, mothers and children need more support and guidance…marriage and the family will be at the center of numerous ecclesial events and projects,” he said upon announcing the archdiocesan focus of 2007.

  The fund for marriage and the family will finance parish projects offering support to families and working toward the protection of life. Individual parish communities will be provided with guidelines from the archdiocese on incorporating the new projects into parish life.

“With our annual program we seek to encourage young people to enter into marriage and the new spouses to have children,” said Robert Kleine, director of Family Pastoral Care for the archdiocese.

  Strongly pro-life and closely aligned with the Holy Father, Cardinal Meisner is known to be deeply concerned with protecting the family in modern society and an outspoken critic of liberal and dissenting Catholic leaders.

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