(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis held his weekly General Audience on Wednesday in St. Peter’s Square – the first of three Wednesday Audiences scheduled to take place during the course of the XIV Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, dedicated to reflecting on the family in the life of the Church and of society.
“During this period,” explained Pope Francis, “the catecheses will be reflections inspired by some aspects of the relationship – which we may certainly define as indissoluble – between the Church and the family, with a view to the common good of the whole Christian community.”
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Pope Francis went on to say that family life, like the life of the Church, is a pilgrimage: he explained that, when families journey along the way of the Lord, they offer a fundamental witness to God’s love, and they deserve the full commitment and support of the Church.
The Holy Father also considered that the family is at once the domestic Church and the school of virtue in which we learn what it means – practically and with a view to our ultimate purpose and calling as creatures made for God – to be social. It was a point emphasized in the English-language summary read after the main catechesis in Italian. “In the family we learn of the bonds which unite us, of fidelity, sincerity, trust, cooperation and respect, even when difficulties abound,” said Pope Francis.
The Holy Father went on to say that, even though families care for society’s most vulnerable members as a matter of course in living out their natural vocation and mission, political and economic life today does not always support the family, and seems to have lost the ability to incorporate the virtues of family life into the common life of society. “The Church today identifies, in this precise point, the historical sense of her mission in regard to the family and the authentic spirit of family: starting from a careful revision of life, which concerns the Church herself.”
“You could say that the ‘family spirit’ is a constitution for the Church,” continued Pope Francis. “This is what Christianity must show to the world, and so must Christianity truly be.”
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