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Pope Francis: Message to Social Week for Italian Catholics

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday sent a message for the participants of the 47th Social Week for Italian Catholics, which will be held from September 12 - 15 in Turin, on the theme: “The Family: Hope and Future for Italian Society”.

In his message, Pope Francis reminded the participants that for the Christian community, the family is much more than a “theme”, but it “is life, the daily fabric, a path for generations through which is transmitted the faith, along with love and with fundamental moral values; [the family] is concrete solidarity, hard work, patience, and also a project, a hope, a future. All of this - which the Christian community lives in the light of faith, hope and charity - it has never kept to herself , but every day it becomes leaven in the dough of society , for the greater common good.”

The Pope said the future of society is rooted in the elderly and young people.

“The latter, because they have the strength and are of the age to be able to bring the story forward,” he explained. “The former, because they are the living memory. A people that does not take of its elderly and children and youth has no future, because it abuses both its memory and its promise.”

Pope Francis said the Church offers a concept of the family rooted in the Book of Genesis, which is based on the complementariness between men and women, and the fertility of this union.

“We want to reaffirm that the family understood in this way is still the first and foremost subject for the building of society and the measure of an economy on a human scale, and as such deserves to be actively supported,” the Pope said, pointing out the demographic problems facing Europe.

“We cannot ignore the suffering of many families due to lack of work, housing problems, the practical impossibility of freely implementing their own educational choices,” added Pope Francis. Families “are also suffering due to internal conflicts in these same families; the marital and familial failings which are experienced; and the violence that also unfortunately lurks and does damage inside our homes. To all of these, we need and want to be particularly close, with respect and a true sense of brotherhood and solidarity.”

However, Pope Francis said we cannot ignore the other end of the spectrum: those who through a “simple, but beautiful and courageous, witness” live the experience of marriage and parenthood with joy, “enlightened and sustained by the grace of the Lord, without fear of facing the moments of the cross, lived in union with [the cross] of the Lord, which do not stop the path of love, but rather make it stronger and more complete.”