Santiago del Chile (Fides Service) – More than one thousand participants, bishops, teachers, mother and fathers, from all over the Continent of America, attended the 20th International Congress of the Inter American Confederation of Catholic Education (CIEC), at Santiago del Chile in January on the theme “Encounter with the, the family in the third millennium Terzo millennio”.
The Congress was the arrival point of a long period of preparation October 2002 to January 2004, at local and continental level. During the Congress, the participants shared experience and ideas on the values of the family, to discern the duties of each starting from the many different circumstances and situations. Regional groups presented their reports on findings with regard to 25 basic themes for general reflection. The results of this reflection were returned for deeper study and enrichment by about 80 workshops.
At the end of the Congress the participants issued a message to the peoples and the families of America, with the sensational title “In the light of the faith, everything is grace”. The message stresses the need to increase awareness of the family’s evangelising and educational mark with hunger and thirst for justice, actively present with solidarity in society…”.
The participants affirm: “despite pressure from many sides against the family, the American family continues to be, on the whole, a healthy, responsible and generous family”. The document then addresses those who can intervene in this field: “the family today deserves all our attention because among our social institutions it is irreplaceable, it is the foundation of society, the model for other societies and the first school of life”. It then affirms that the future of peoples lies in the hands of the family and the school, because only these institutions have the possibility to form new generations. Therefore “more and more the family and school must mature together the same project, formation of the individual. Although education of children is a right/duty of parents, nevertheless the optimisation of this commitment requires convergence of objectives, energies and resources”.
In the Message the participants protest against governments or political regimes which try to usurp or hamper the sacred duty of educating freely their children and they call on institutions and bodies, private and public, national and international to take up the cause of the family with courage, sincerity and concrete commitment. They appeal to media owners and operators to keep in mind that the family is a basic human value which must be taken seriously because it is the future of humanity. “Profit or rating must not be the only criteria for planning of programmes, many of which threaten the identity, dignity, stability and health of the family ”.
The message concludes by recalling that families today face real problems which faith cannot remove, but “the times in which we live offer an opportunity to make a new leap of confidence and to reaffirm our fundamental option for life: the time has come for us to meet again the family as desired by God and of which man has need”. (R.Z.) (Fides Service 4/2/2004; lines 43 - words 584)