Family Is Irreplaceable; Women Should Be Valued
On December 2nd, Pope Francis sent a message entitled “The Life and Work Ecosystem: Feminine Occupation and Birth, Well-being and Economic Growth” to the participants of the Festival of the Family in Riva del Garda.
In this message, the Pope reiterates “the irreplaceable and fundamental position that the family occupies, be it in civil society, [or] be it in the ecclesial community.” He quotes St. John Paul II in reminding us that, “The future of humanity passes through the family,” (Familiaris Consortio, 86) and talks about how the work of the family and the interaction between the family and society, in particular in terms of professions, must be considered carefully.
“The family has a mission that is proper to it, at the service of its members, of their development, of life: it has rights and, therefore, it is in need of supports and guarantees to be able to exercise them. On the other hand, the family also has duties towards society…” Pope Francis speaks of the natural interdependence between the family and society; each needs the other to live out their mission authentically. The family is the main and most important place where persons learn “solidarity and subsidiarity,” and the family’s mutual collaboration with public services and businesses is important. Even the economics of a country—particularly dealing with the problem of unemployment—should reflect society’s support of family life.
Regarding the specific value of feminine occupation, Pope Francis points out that women should be recognized for all that they do, or hope to do, in both the family and society. He points out that some women are “exhausted and almost crushed by the amount of commitments and tasks, without finding sufficient understanding and help.” He says that women should not be required to work (due to economic need) so much that they are overburdened with responsibilities both outside and inside of the home. “Above all it is necessary to consider that the commitments of women, at all levels of family life, also constitute an unsurpassed contribution to life and to the future of the society.”
Pope Francis’s message to this particular gathering reminds the whole Church that the woman’s role in the family and society should never be overlooked or minimized.