Monterrey (Fides Service) – “The family, sanctuary of life, good news for the third millennium” : this was the theme of the 75th plenary assembly of the Catholic Bishops of Mexico held in Monterrey 28 April – 2 May. At the end of their work the Bishops addressed a “Message to Mexican Families” expressing concern for the increasing number of families that break up and offering pastoral guidelines to prevent this phenomenon.
The Bishops say that the reason for the failure of family life lies mainly in a misunderstanding of the Sacrament of Marriage which people are beginning to consider no more than a private contract which can be freely broken. Among the causes for the disintegration of families listed by the Prelates a present day trivial attitude to human sexuality seen simply as a means of pleasure which uses people; widespread use of means of contraception, abortion etc…to avoid having children and on the other hand the fashion of assisted procreation, having a child “made to measure”. “God wanted the family to be the sanctuary of life” – the Bishops say adding that this means that any form of manipulation which attacks life, whether to avoid having a child or procreating with unnatural means is particularly grave.
The Bishops indicate poverty as another cause for the falling apart of families: “poverty, misery, lack of adequate resources strike the family violently causing the painful phenomenon of migration, a direct cause of the disintegration of the family”. Faced with these and other situations which affect families, the Bishops of Mexico say: “Enough with all this destruction of our families!…God is the Author of matrimony and the family, which is one of the most precious goods of humanity. The family is a human patrimony. If we lose it we will deprive ourselves of the vital nucleus of society, because it is the educator of individuals and it is the fundamental community on which all social relations are based.”
The message ends by recalling the Church’s work to promote the family. “We confirm our option for the family as our basic priority in our pastoral care: to ensure that it is a sanctuary of life, to promote responsible parenthood in the light of Church Teaching, to reactivate family catechesis in every parish, to educate young people to married and family life, to accompany and assist married couples to strengthen their matrimonial relation, to welcome with love families experiencing difficult times and accompany those who find themselves in irregular situations to live in a spirit of conversion on a path of peace with God and with his Church”.
The Bishops appeal to priests, consecrated persons and committed laity to courageously, announce celebrate and serve the Gospel of matrimony, the family, life in a spirit of communion. Aware of scarce information on these matters the Bishops promise to promote the formation of pastoral workers. Moreover they encourage school, universities, teachers of all grades to educate their pupils to a correct moral conscience on matters such as human sexuality, marriage, the family, life and to work in scientific research in communion and fidelity to the Church Teaching. Lastly they call on the media to work together to promote respect for marriage, the family, life and they call on lawmakers and governors to pass laws which promote and defend the rights of the family and the dignity of every human person.RZ (Fides Service 6/5/2003 EM lines 36 Words: 581)