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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The universal scope of the family

Vatican City, 16 September 2015 (VIS) – In the catechesis of today's general audience, Pope Francis concluded his reflections on marriage and the family, on the eve of events directly linked to this theme: the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia and the Synod of Bishops in Rome. “Both have a global reach, which corresponds both to the universal dimension of Christianity and to the universal scope of the fundamental and indispensable human community of the family”.

“Our civilisation currently appears marked by the long term effects of a society managed by economic technocracy. The subordination of ethics to the logic of profit is sustained by substantial means and enjoys enormous media support. … A new alliance of man and woman would seem not only necessary, but also strategic for the emancipation of peoples from their colonisation by money”, he continued. “This alliance must once again guide politics, the economy and civil coexistence. It decides the habitability of the earth, the transmission of the sentiment of life, and the bonds of memory and hope”.

“Of this alliance, the matrimonial-familiar community of man and woman is its generative grammar, its 'golden bond', so to speak. Faith draws upon knowledge of God's creation: He entrusted to the family not only the care of intimacy for its own sake, but also the project of making the entire world domestic. It is precisely the family that is at the origin and the base of this worldwide culture that saves us: it saves us from many attacks, many forms of destruction, and many forms of colonisation, for instance by money and ideologies, that so threaten the world. The family is a base from which we defend ourselves”.

“The Biblical Word of creation has provided us with the fundamental inspiration for our brief reflections on the family during the Wednesday audiences. … God's creation is not simply a philosophical premise: it is the universal horizon of life and faith. The divine plan consists only of creation and its salvation. It is for the salvation of the creature – of every creature – that God became man. … The world He created is entrusted to man and to woman: what happens between casts the die for all that follows. Their refusal of God's blessing leads them fatally to the delirium of omnipotence that ruins all things. It is what we call 'original sin'. And we all come into the world with the legacy of this disease”.

However, “we are not cursed or abandoned to our own devices. 'I will make you and the woman enemies to each other. Your descendants and her descendants will be enemies', God says to the deceitful and enchanting snake. With these words God bestows upon the woman a protective barrier against evil, to which she may resort, if she wishes, for every generation. This means that the women bears a secret and special blessing, for the defence of her creature against the Evil One. … Many stereotypes exists, often offensive, regarding the woman as temptress who inspires evil. Instead, there is space for a theology of the woman worthy of this blessing from God, for her and for her generation”.

“God's merciful protection of man and woman never ends. … The symbolic language of the Bible tells us that before casting them out of the Garden of Eden, God gave them animal skin tunics and dressed them. This gesture of tenderness means that, even in the painful consequences of our sin, God does not want us to remain naked and abandoned to our destiny as sinners. This divine tenderness, this care for us, we see incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God 'born of woman'. ... It is God's caress to our wounds, our mistakes, our sins. But God loves us as we are and wants to lead us ahead with this plan, and the woman is the strongest at taking it forward”.

“The promise God makes to man and woman, at the origin of history, includes all human beings, up to the end of history. If we have enough faith, the families of the peoples of the world will recognise themselves in this blessing. In any case, may whoever allows him- or herself to be moved by this vision, regardless of the people, nation, or religion to which he or she belongs, walk with us and become our brother or sister, without proselytism. Let us walk together under this blessing and with God's aim to make us all brothers and sisters in life in a world that goes ahead and that is born precisely of the family, the union of man and woman”.

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