This week the Pontifical Council for the Family is holding a conference to discuss how to recover the true meaning of the family in the context of a growing process of deconstructionism and confusion.
“The family is still regarded almost universally as a good,” said Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Sept. 19, while adding that in secular society “there are still all the pieces of marriage, but not the whole building anymore.”
“Marriage has not been destroyed by a bomb, but it has been deconstructed, so that we recognize the pieces but we cannot recognize the building any more.“
The contemporary challenge, he said, “is to speak about the truth of marriage to non-believers by presenting to them the anthropological truth and value of family in a language that makes it possible for there to be a consensus to save the family.”
The conference, held at the Pontifical Urban University in Rome, runs Sept. 19-21 and is themed “The rights of the family and the challenges of the contemporary world.” It will include exhibitions as well as keynote addresses and contributions from renowned journalists in roundtable discussions.
The conference commemorates the 30th anniversary of Blessed John Paul II's Letter on the Rights of the Family. It is also hosted by the Association of Catholic Jurists, and is being financed by Priests for Life.
Yesterday afternoon Vatican media advisor Greg Burke led a roundtable discussion featuring the director of CNA, Alejandro Bermudez; the director of the Italian SIR news agency, Paolo Bustaffa; Australian journalist Angela Shanahan; and professor of social communications Jean-Baptiste Sourou.
Among the topics that will be discussed in group sessions include the role of women in and for the family; work, family and economic challenges; procreation and the challenges of biotechnology; and the family in the experience of immigration.
Other speakers at the event include the secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Bishop Jean Laffitte, who will give an address on pluralism, the emotional life and lifestyles; Carmen Dominguez, who will speak on freedom in education; and the secretary general of the Federation of Catholic Family Associations of Europe, Maria Hildingsson, who will speak about the family from the perspective of international politics.