The Catholic Church to the rescue of the true family God created
Protecting the integrity and dignity of the family as it was conceived by God is the duty of all Christians and of all people of good will, because all of us belong to a family. Today, more than ever before, the family is threatened from all flanks with opinions, realities and even political agendas that jeopardize its integrity: divorced people living in a second union, cohabitation, same-sex unions and their eventual adoption of children, single-parent families, wombs available for rent, and the lack of faith in the sacraments of matrimony and confession.
If the family is the basic cell of society, it should not surprise us when the infection of one family after another causes a social cancer of capital consequences.
To assume that a family is formed by one father, one mother and their children would seem obvious. Yet, when no one speaks of what is obvious because it is obvious, people forget because no one speaks. Evidently, people in our time have begun to forget the obvious nature of the family. Furthermore, people begin to consider obvious some situations that contradict the essence of the family as well as God’s will. Attitudes that were universally reprobated for centuries are now accepted and even promoted. It has become necessary to speak up about something that should be more than obvious.
So grave the problem is that the family has become the pastoral priority of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis has found himself in need of summoning bishops from all the world in an extraordinary general session of the Synod of Bishops. They gather in Rome this October to discuss the situations I listed before. Bishops will rejoin in 2015 at the synod to propose to the pope pastoral solutions that will help to safeguard the sacredness of matrimony, to remark the beauty of the complete family, and to heal the family cancer that has been silently invading our society. Later on, the pope will issue an apostolic exhortation with pastoral guidelines which, as a church, we’ll follow in order to rescue, promote, protect and exalt the family as God himself envisioned it when he created a man and a woman.
So, what has made society distort the concept of the authentic family? Jesus himself faced this situation amidst a people of God who accepted divorce at the time, against his Father’s will. He reminded them, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘… the two shall become one flesh’? … Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” (Matthew 19:4,5d.8) And: “What God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Mark 10:9)
It is the hardness of our hearts what makes us disregard God’s will about the family and embrace our own whims. Let us ask God in prayer to make our hearts obedient to his divine will and at the same time brave enough to resist any onslaught against our families. Let us not allow anything or anyone hurt our families! Let us go behind the Lord, guided by the pope and bishops, to the rescue of the only true family God dreamed of and shared with each of us!
Be passionate about our faith!
This is the English translation of the “Semillas de la Palabra” column that appeared in the October 2014 issue of NORTHWEST CATHOLIC.