During the period of the Synod dedicated to “The vocation and the mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world”, the catechesis of the Wednesday general audiences will focus on various aspects of the relationship between the Church and the family, the Pope announced this morning to the thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square. Francis asked all to pray for a good outcome of the Synod assembly, and underlined that the family deserves all the dedication of which the Church is capable, and therefore the Synod is called upon to interpret the care of the Church for the family in our times.
“Men and women of today are in need of a robust injection of family spirit”, he continued. “Indeed, the style of relations – civil, economic, legal, professional, and as citizens – would appear very rational, formal and organized, but also very ‘dehydrated’, arid and anonymous. At times this becomes unbearable. While seeking to be inclusive in its forms, in reality it abandons an ever greater number of people to solitude and exclusion”.
The family, however, “opens for the whole of society a far more human prospect: it opens children’s eyes onto life … and introduces them to the need for bonds of fidelity, sincerity, trust, cooperation and respect; it encourages the planning of an inhabitable world and the belief in relationships of trust, even in difficult situations. … And we are all aware of the indispensable nature of the care of the family for its smallest members, the most vulnerable, the wounded, and even those who have encountered the most disasters in the conduct of their lives”.
Nevertheless, the Pope remarked, “the family is not granted due recognition or support in the political and social organization of contemporary society. I would add: not only does the family not receive adequate recognition, but it no longer generates learning. At times it would seem that, in spite of all its science and technology, modern society is still not able to translate this knowledge into better forms of civil coexistence. … In this situation, the opposite extremes of this brutalization of relationships – that is, technocratic obtuseness and amoral familism – come together and feed into one another. It is a paradox”.
“The Church perceives today, at this precise point, the historical meaning of her mission with regard to the family and genuine family spirit; starting from a careful revision of life. .. It could be said that the ‘family spirit’ is a constitutional charter for the Church. This is how Christianity should appear and should be. … The Church is and must be the family of God”.
The Pope recalled that when Jesus invited Peter to follow Him, He said that He would have made him a “fisher of men”. “And this called for a new type of net. We could say that today families are one of the most important nets for the mission of Peter and the Church. It is not a net that takes prisoners! On the contrary, it liberates from the treacherous waters of abandonment and indifference, that drown many human beings in a sea of loneliness and indifference. Families are well aware of the dignity of being sons and not slaves or outsiders”.
“From here, from the family, Jesus begins again his path among human beings to persuade them that God has not forgotten them. From here Peter takes strength for his ministry. From here the Church, in obedience to the Word of the Master, goes out to fish offshore, sure that if it takes place, the catch will be miraculous. May the enthusiasm of the Synod Fathers, inspired by the Holy Spirit, kindle the zeal of a Church that abandons the old nets and goes out to fish again, trusting in the Word of her Lord. Let us pray intensely for this! Indeed, Christ promised and reassures us: if even a bad father does not refuse to give bread to his hungry children, of course God would not refuse to give the Spirit to those who, imperfect as they are, ask with impassioned insistence”.