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Families-- not autonomous individuals-- are basic units of society, Pope writes

November 10, 2011

The family “is not a private entity enclosed in itself,” Pope Benedict XVI wrote in a message to the 2nd National Family Congress in Ecuador. “By its vocation it makes a wonderful and decisive contribution to the common good of society and the mission of the Church.”

Underlining the social nature of human life, the Pope wrote that society is not merely a collection of autonomous individuals. Healthy social life requires strong families, he said, and “the health and value of relationships within a society depend upon the health and value of relationships within families.”

The Pope also addressed the importance of work for family life. “This is why unemployment or precarious work undermine man's dignity,” he wrote; “creating not just situations of injustice and poverty which frequently degenerate into desperation, criminality and violence, but also crises of identity.”


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