Vatican City, 25 October 2013 (VIS) - “The family is a community of life with its own consistency. It is not the sum of the persons by whom it is constituted, but rather a 'community of persons'”, said Pope Francis, quoting Blessed John Paul II's encyclical “Familiaris consortio”, in an address to participants in the twenty-first plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family taking place in Rome during these days, whom he received in audience this morning.
The family, continued the Pontiff, is “the place where we learn to love, the natural centre of human life”. … Each one of us builds his or her own personality within the family. … It is there that we learn the art of dialogue and interpersonal communication”. For this reason “the community-family … asks to be recognised as such, even more nowadays, when the protection of individual rights prevails”.
“The family is based on marriage. Through an act of free and faithful love, Christian couples give witness that marriage, as a sacrament, is the foundation upon which they base their family and strengthens the conjugal union and mutual self-giving. … Conjugal and familiar love also clearly demonstrate the vocation of the person to love in a unique and everlasting way, and show that the trials, sacrifices and crises in the lives of couples, as in the family as a whole, represent stages of growth in goodness, truth and beauty. … It is an experience of faith in God and of reciprocal trust, profound freedom, and holiness, because holiness presupposes self-giving with trust and sacrifice every day throughout life!”.
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