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Families, not just individuals, have rights, Pope argues

Catholic World News - October 25, 2013

“Taking care of the young and the elderly is the choice of civilization,” Pope Francis said in an October 25 address to the Pontifical Council for the Family.

“Children and the elderly represent the two poles of life and are also the most vulnerable and often the most forgotten groups,” the Pope said—placing his emphasis on a theme that he has advanced several times. “A society that abandons its children or marginalizes its elderly members not only carries out an act of injustice but also sanctions the failure of that society.”

The Pope also stressed that the family is based on marriage, and grows through acts of love. “Conjugal and familiar love also clearly demonstrate the vocation of the person to love in a unique and everlasting way,” he said.

The family, the Pope said—citing Familiaris Consortio, the encyclical of Pope John Paul II—is sum the sum of persons but “a community of persons.” That community deserves proper recognition, he said, at a time when in modern society “the protection of individual rights prevails.”

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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Oct. 26, 2013 10:35 PM ET USA

    Abortion, in vitro fertilization, contraception, forms of employment proscribed in n. 11 of "Some Considerations Concerning the Response to Legislative Proposals on the Non-Discrimination of Homosexual Persons," and the notion of marriage between persons of the same sex are all moral threats not only to individuals but to families as well. The first 3 examples represent threats to both the unborn and their families. The other 2 concern safe environments for individuals, children, and families.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Oct. 26, 2013 10:37 AM ET USA

    In this I would have to disagree with the approach of the Holy Father. Yes, families indeed have "rights," but they also have responsibilities, and in that to be quite blunt the modern family is failing miserably. And we Catholics bear the brunt of the blame, for it is only in our incisive doctrinal system that intimacy is securely preserved. It is "we" who have received the teachings, but we have not kept them.

  • Posted by: shrink - Oct. 26, 2013 7:28 AM ET USA

    FYI: Familiaris Consortio is not an encyclical. It is an Apostolic Exhortation.

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