On the Universal Importance of the Family
Pope Francis ended his series of catecheses on marriage and the family as he looked forward to two related events: the World Meeting of Families (September 22-25, 2015) and the Synod of Bishops (October 4-25, 2015). “Both have a worldwide breadth,” he said, “which corresponds to the universal dimension of Christianity, but also to the universal importance of this fundamental and irreplaceable human community that, in fact, the family is.”
The pope said that the relationship between man and woman is ever-more important today “for the emancipation of the people from the colonization of money,” and that the family “decides the habitability of the earth, the transmission of the meaning of life, the bonds of the memory and of hope.”
The Holy Father called the conjugal family the “generative grammar” or “golden bond” of society. It is the family that has the capacity to save people from attachments to other things, like material goods, and from destructions or colonizations, including ideological ones.
Sacred Scripture, particularly the creation accounts, has formed the basis for the Pope’s reflections on marriage and family. He said, “We took our fundamental inspiration from the biblical Word of creation. We can and must draw from this Word again with abundance and profundity.” In the Word of God, it becomes clear that, “The created world is entrusted to man and woman: what happens between them leaves an imprint on everything.” Thus the sin of Adam and Eve, which the pope calls “a delirium of omnipotence,” touches the rest of humanity.
But God never abandons humanity and He promised deliverance in Genesis, in particular through the woman and her child (c.f. Genesis 3:15a). Pope Francis said, “Through these words God marks woman with a protective barrier against evil, to which she can take recourse – if she wishes – for every generation. It means that woman bears a secret and special blessing, for the defense of her child from the Evil One!” The pope encouraged the continued development of a theology of women. He spoke of God’s tenderness to our first parents after they had sinned; how God clothed them and cared for them: “This gesture of tenderness also means that in the painful consequences of our sin, God does not want us to remain naked and abandoned to our fate of sinners.”
Finally, the Holy Father noted that God’s promise to man and woman in the beginning is still valid. It includes all people at all times. “If we have sufficient faith, the families of the peoples of the earth will recognize themselves in this blessing.” The world continues on, and this world “is born in fact of the family, of the union of man and woman.”