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Monday, December 20, 2004


VATICAN CITY, DEC 18, 2004 (VIS) - Delegates from the Forum of Family Associations, in Rome for their Program Conference, were received today by the Pope who thanked them for their 10 years of work in favor of families and for "being a voice for those who have none, for being spokesmen for family rights."

  "The family is not only at the heart of Christian life," he said, "it is the foundation of social and civil life, and thus constitutes a central chapter in Christian social teaching." He urged deeper studies of "that union between a man and a woman which takes place in marriage and gives rise to the family community. Whoever destroys this basic fabric of human coexistence causes a deep wound to society and often causes irreparable damage."

  John Paul II outlined the attacks taking place on marriage and the family, saying "they grow stronger and more radical every day. ... The attempt to reduce the family to a private affective experience, socially irrelevant; to confuse individual rights with those proper to the family nucleus constituted by a bond of matrimony; to make cohabitation equal to marriage; to accept, and in some cases promote, the suppression of innocent human lives with voluntary abortion; to distort the natural processes of generating children by introducing artificial forms of procreation, these are some of the areas in which subversion is underway in society."

  Devaluating marriage and losing respect for human dignity, said the Pope, is not progress. "What is presented as progress of civilization or scientific conquest, in many cases is, in fact, a defeat for human dignity and for society. ... The truth about man ... cannot be sacrificed to technological dominion or the prevarication of desires over authentic rights."

  In concluding, the Holy Father encouraged Catholic associations "and all who believe in the values of family and life, not to give in to pressures of a culture which threatens the very foundations of respect for life and promotion of the family."
AC/FAMILY FORUM/...                        VIS 20041220 (340)

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