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Thursday, April 1, 2004


VATICAN CITY, APR 1, 2004 (VIS) - Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, spoke yesterday in Mexico City at the concluding session of the Third World Congress of Families, denouncing materialism, violence and permissiveness as being among the most dangerous threats to families in the world.

  The object of this meeting, said a press release from the council, "is to create an intercultural and inter-religious space for encounters, reflections, dialogue and proposals to build together a world suitable for families."

  Cardinal Martino said that "the family is the key for the future of mankind," and, in order to make society more human and just, the family as society's basic institution must be strengthened. He said "we must direct our greatest efforts, our best ideas and refine our imaginations and our creativity to make this action of strengthening the family more efficacious."

  "It is within the family," he underscored, "that those forms of anti-culture must be fought, those forms that contradict the vocation inscribed in the hearts of all human beings to a full life, to fraternity and to solidarity." He then remarked on the serious threats to families, citing "a materialistic culture which places things over people, the culture of violence which considers violence as the only way to produce a more just society and the culture of permissiveness which challenges rules on sexual behavior, interpersonal relations within the family and relations of authority."

  Noting that it is impossible for societies today not to be open to globalization, the cardinal said that "it is important, however, to educate to discernment and to defend the riches of every culture, avoiding what can place these cultures in danger. A people that loses its cultural identity becomes fertile terrain for inhuman practices and places its own future at risk."

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