PONTIFICAL COUNCIL for INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE
TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE MEETING PROMOTED BY THE FEDERATION OF CATHOLIC FAMILY ASSOCIATIONS IN EUROPE (excerpt)
June 1, 2017
2. Crises of different types are presently springing up in Europe, not least in the institution of the family. But crises are incentives to work harder and better, with trust and hope.
I am familiar with your initiatives to promote concrete policies favouring the family in the areas of the economy and employment, and not only these, with the goal of procuring a dignified and fitting employment for all, especially the young, who in many areas of Europe endure the scourge of unemployment. In these initiatives, as well as in others directly related to the legislative field, concern for showing respect and for the dignity of each person should always prevail. In this sense, the culture of encounter always includes an attitude of dialogue in which listening is always necessary. May your dialogue be always based on actions, testimonies, experiences and lifestyles that speak more loudly than your speeches and programmes. This is indispensable for if families are to play the role of “protagonists” to which my predecessor Saint John Paul II called them (Familiaris Consortio, 44).
Four crises in particular affect Europe at the present time: demographics – the “demographic winter” -, migration, employment and education. These crises might find positive outcomes precisely in the culture of encounter, if different social, economic and political actors were to join in shaping policies supportive of families. In these four areas, you are already working to propose answers tailored to families, seeing in the latter a resource and an ally for the person and his or her milieu. In this sense, your task very often will be to invite to a constructive dialogue with the various actors on the social scene, without concealing your Christian identity. Indeed, that identity will enable you always to look beyond appearances and the present moment. As you have clearly stressed, the culture of the ephemeral calls for an education for the future.
3. To carry out this demanding work, the family cannot remain isolated like a monad. Families need to go out from themselves; they need to dialogue and to encounter others, in order to build a unity that is not uniformity and that can generate progress and advance the common good.