Sunday, October 08, 2006

Pope's Angelus: The family, a mission open to life, against hedonism and relativism


Today’s world “needs families who do not allow themselves to be swept away by modern cultural trends inspired by hedonism and relativism, and who instead are ready to fulfill their mission in the Church and in society with generous dedication.” Taking his cue from the Sunday liturgy and the words of Jesus recorded in the Gospel, Benedict XVI offered a small teaching on marriage to thousands of pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s Square for the Angelus.
Citing Gaudium et Spes and Vatican Council II, the pope recalled that “God himself is the author of marriage”. And it is precisely from this Origin that the definition of marriage is born as “no longer two, but one flesh”. For this reason, any division or breaking of the marital bond is excluded: ‘Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate’ (Mk 10:8-9).
So the pope exhorted Christian spouses “to remain faithful to their vocation in every stage of life, ‘in joy and sorrow, in health and sickness’, as they promised to do in the sacramental rite. Aware of grace received, may Christian spouses build families open to life and capable of confronting together the many complex challenges of our time.”
Overcoming hedonism and relativism, parents are “true ‘missionaries’ of love and of life (cfr n.54).This mission is directed within the family – especially in reciprocal service and children’s education – and outside: the domestic family, in fact, is called to be a sign of God’s love towards all. It is a mission, this, that the Christian family can bring to fulfillment only if sustained by divine grace.”
To confirm this, Benedict XVI cited Familiaris Consortio, the apostolic exhortation written by John Paul II. All those present burst into applause at the mention of the deceased pope’s name.
The pontiff closed his address by inviting families to pray: “It is necessary to pray tirelessly and to persevere in the daily effort to keep to commitments taken on the day of marriage. I invoke the maternal protection of Our Lady and her spouse Joseph on all families, especially those in difficulty. Mary, Queen of the family, pray for us!”
Delivering greetings after the Angelus, the pope mentioned first and foremost an initiative of the diocese of Rome called “Jesus at the centre”: 350 youth from all associations, movements, and parishes have presented their faith to their friends “on the streets and in squares, in schools and in hospitals, as well as in places of entertainment of young Romans.” The pope added: “I encourage you to keep to this missionary style in every day life, always taking advantage of diocesan formation initiatives.”

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