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Balance work, rest, in family life, Pope urges

Catholic World News - September 24, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI called for a healthier balance between work and rest in his message of the 7th World Meeting of Families.

The natural rhythms of work and recreation are essential to family life, the Pope wrote. He continued:

“In our time, unfortunately, the organization of work, which is planned and implemented as a function of market competition and maximizing profit, and the concept of rest as a time for evasion and consumption, contribute to the break-up of families and communities, and to the spread of an individualistic lifestyle.”

The Pope suggested that a proper understanding of rest and recreation would help to restore family life. He suggested in particular that families should make a commitment to honor the Sabbath rest.

Noting that 2012 will mark the 30th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio, Pope Benedict called for new attention to that document, which he described as “the Magna Carta of family pastoral care.”

The 7th World Meeting of Families will be held in Milan in 2012. The Pope’s message for the meeting, released on September 24, was presented at a press conference in Rome chaired by Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

Cardinal Antonelli observed that the family today “does not receive adequate cultural, juridical, economic or political support and suffers the negative conditioning of complex centrifugal dynamics, among which by no means the least important are the organization of work and the degeneration of rest into 'free time.’”

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