(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received in audience on Thursday members of the European Federation of Catholic Family Associations or (FAFCE).
The federation was meeting the Pope on the occasion of its 20th Anniversary.
FAFCE represents Catholic family associations from 14 European countries and has participatory status with the Council of Europe.
Listen to Lydia O’Kane’s interview with the President of the European Federation of Catholic Family Associations, Antoine Renard who spoke earlier this week about this important anniversary and the challenges facing the family today.
In his prepared words to those gathered for this anniversary, Pope Francis said that the family was Europe’s most precious treasure.
He continued by saying that families were not “museum pieces, but through them, the gift is made concrete in mutual commitment and generous openness to children, but also in service to society.”
Families, the Pope added, “are thus a kind of leaven that helps to make the world more humane and more fraternal, where no one feels rejected or abandoned.”
Crises in the family
During his speech Pope Francis noted that, “crises of different types are presently springing up in Europe, not least in the institution of the family.” But, he said, “crises are incentives to work harder and better, with trust and hope.”
The Holy Father noted four crises in particular that are affecting Europe at the present time, highlighting demographics, migration, employment and education.
He stressed that “these crises might find positive outcomes precisely in the culture of encounter, if different social, economic and political actors were to join in shaping policies supportive of families.”
In conclusion, the Holy Father said that families had much to learn from the wisdom of their elders.
With this wisdom he underlined, “your service to the sacredness of life takes concrete form in the covenant between generations and in service to all, especially those most in need,... in defending the right to life of the unborn who have no voice, and in ensuring dignified living conditions for the elderly."