Rome: The Capital of the Family — What Will it Take?

New out this morning is a report on the upcoming Synod on the Family and other family related information from Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family:

This morning in the Holy See Press Office Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, presented the twelfth plenary assembly of the dicastery, which will take place in Rome from 23 to 25 October, and the pilgrimage of families to the tomb of St. Peter to mark the Year of Faith, the theme of which is “Family, live the joy of faith” (26 and 27 October). Today’s press conference also included the presentation of a volume, published in Spanish and Italian, gathering together thirty-five texts by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio-Pope Francis on the theme of the family and life, written between 1999 and 2013. The other participants in the conference were Bishop Jean Lafitte, Msgr. Simon Vasquez and Fr. Gianfranco Grieco, O.F.M., respectively secretary, under-secretary and head of department of the aforementioned Pontifical Council.

Archbishop Paglia emphasized that the recent convocation of the third general assembly of the Synod of Bishops (5-19 October 2014) will project new light on the upcoming events to be held by the Pontifical Council for the Family. “We wish to promote a great Family celebration around Pope Francis. Rome wants to, and must, become the ‘Capital’ of the family, both in Italy and worldwide. To be part of a family is good. To make a family is beautiful: we want to shout this out to the world, especially to families in difficulty. … If it is not good for man to be alone, it is likewise not good for families to be alone. The family must return to the centre of culture, politics, the economy, finance, and the life of peoples and nations. The Family must increasingly be the focus of the attention and concerns of the post-conciliar Church. Pope Francis, with the celebration of the next Synod, wishes to remind us of this urgency before it is too late. All the dioceses of the world are invited to put themselves on the same wavelength in order to reflect and to give new impetus to family pastoral care”. Read the full article.

I’m struck by that portion of the comments which reads: “We wish to promote a great Family celebration around Pope Francis. Rome wants to, and must, become the ‘Capital’ of the family, both in Italy and worldwide. To be part of a family is good. To make a family is beautiful: we want to shout this out to the world, especially to families in difficulty.”

The article goes on to emphasize that at the upcoming Plenary Assembly to be held later this month, an emphasis will be placed on putting Pope Francis in proximity to the elderly and children:

“On Saturday afternoon the Pope will be surrounded by hundreds of elderly people and children, a novelty compared to other family meetings. By this decision it was intended to give visibility to the generational structure that characterizes and enriches the life of every family and together bring to the fore two subjects who are particularly vulnerable and who merit greater attention.”

Rome as the “Capital of the Family” is an interesting prospect. I’m left to ponder if families currently feel that we can turn to our Church first and foremost when our families struggle. When we deal with issues such as unemployment, care for an elderly parent, the challenge of raising teens or even the management of our family finances, how many of us look to our Church for guidance and solutions? I can look around myself at several non-denominational Christian churches in my community who provide a fine role model in some of these arenas. I hope that this emphasis on families takes us beyond documents and philosophical teachings and into the realm of providing real tools that will help in a hands on fashion with some of the topics that most challenge today’s Catholic families.

A question for you: What will it take for you to consider Rome and your Church as the “Capital” of the family?

About Lisa M. Hendey

Lisa Hendey is the founder and webmaster of CatholicMom.com and the author of The Grace of YesA Book of Saints for Catholic Moms and The Handbook for Catholic Moms. Lisa writes for several online and print publications, enjoys speaking around the country and is a frequent television and radio guest and host. Visit her at LisaHendey.com.

  • hotboogers

    ” … how many of us look to our Church for guidance and solutions?”

    Not me and mine. In our greatest hour of crisis, our parish … ignored us. Not even a simple phone call from the pastor or the head of the ladies’ group. Bupkis. I know if we were evangelical, our group would have helped us in various and sundry ways; I grew up in that culture and they do that. Catholics, not so much. I get the impression that Catholics often feel it should be done by government and Catholic Charities, not by individuals. Of course there are exceptions out there, but where were they when we were crushed and bleeding? Bupkis.

    So the Vatican can do as it like and proclaim the family of Rome or whatnot. I still got bupkis.

    • Eccela

      As a member of The Church Christ himself founded and also knowing not only where The church came from and what it is about I also have always put myself at Her service. What has always amazed me is how few professed Catholics participate in their church. People constantly make this inane statment ” ,,,,I needed and no one gave me anything etc…” Did you actually act like a member of the church? Did you see what you could do to show you believe? Did you study what your Mass is about and why? I ask this after teaching in a large parish where I also was asked to be on every begging committee the church had. I say this as a mother of five who also worked, coached and help build a business that was stolen from us. While teaching we collected food, money and gifts for families we “knew” needed help. We only knew these families needed help because they partisipated enough for us to know “of” them. A food bank distributed over 3000 meals a month (my husband also fixed countless needs of the church). To preach the gospel all the time and sometimes even use words is what is needed by the majority of Catholcs. Do not insult Christ church because you didn’t get Bupkis. Each time a tragedy hit us I did turn to “The Church” who is Christ. To equate what you don’t “get” to what you have been given is more than wrong.

      • hotboogers

        Wow, your bitterness was a real mirror for me and your assumptions are breathtaking. In point of fact, our family was one of the pillars of that parish. No, not the head of the ladies guild or the knights, or even a member of the pastor’s inner clique. But one of the many families who are there doing the little stuff and the scut work day in and day out. We were scouting leaders, bake sale and parish festival coordinators, parish meal contributors, CCD assistants, yard sale workers, our son was an altar server, our daughter in the choir … I hope you get the scope of our involvement. I called our pastor from the hospital and he came to anoint our breadwinner who lay there unable to speak or move, good for the priest for the sacramental response … but afterward, like I said … not even a phone call …

        Your response has made me wake up and see that I need to process these experiences and find something more positive in my life. Thank you for that shake-up. Shame on you, though, for your presumption and anti-charity.

  • Anon

    The Church has a long way to go in its attempt to have Catholics trust it in life, not just ritual or catechism. My family personally is still suffering 20+ years of destruction, mixed messages and ineptitude.

    • eccela

      Really and what are you doing to help this along? How little value you place on the Truth of the church and the free will we each have. As Christ said “keep your traditions” you see as much as you may like the easy life of the non-church’s that profess being Christians despite the fact that they left His church because they seem to know more. Following the traditions, teachings and sacraments of The Church is a far more filling meal than any other. I cannot help but wonder how anyone who actually reads the entire Bible (yep even the five books that were tossed per our christian brothers) how you can follow them that ignore what is written in regard to their being no other way to salvation. Be an adult and help make better what you believe, you will then be fulfilled.

  • Michelle

    While I love the Catholic church, and joined her with great joy in 2008, I have to say the the Churches I know (we have attended 2 and tried 2 others) are about the loneliest family places I know. It is exactly what makes me miss being a Protestant so very, very much. At times it is cold comfort to remind myself that the Catholic church has the correct doctrine, has been around for 2000 years and has the best chance of being here in another few hundred. If it were not for the Eucharist, I would say thank you, but really, we can’t take the lack of community and lack of interest in being the body of Christ TOGETHER.

  • Michelle

    Having said that it is lonely, I forgot to add that Pope Francis gives me such great hope. I am grateful that he is taking this stand for the family and I believe that much of what Pope Benedict tried to do underscores this as well . . . so hopefully the church is ready. Or willing. Or even a tiny bit open to trying.


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