Pope: Family and the Way of the Cross

2012-03-17 Vatican Radio

Pope Benedict XVI’s choice of theme for the Way of the Cross this Good Friday – the family – comes at a most propitious time in the life of the Church and wider society. In many countries the institutions of marriage and family are under intense scrutiny as governments and legislators tackle the issues of same-sex marriage as opposed to unions, adoption and the right to life.

In short the meaning of family, the role of family and the mission of family is being questioned. But what does our faith teach us in this regard? Husband and wife, Danilo and Annamaria Zanzucchi, have been asked to write the texts of the meditations for the Good Friday Way of the Cross, April 6 next, at Rome’s Colosseum. The couple, personally chosen by Pope Benedict, were among the closest collaborators of Chiara Lubich, foundress of the Focolare Movement, especially as leaders of the "New Families" movement.

Annamaria: “Our first reaction was one of surprise and I must also say a little fear in the face of this great mystery that is the suffering of Jesus, having to verbalize it seemed too difficult for us. At the same time, we are profoundly grateful to the Pope for choosing the theme of the family for something so profound and so strong. Expressing our participation in the redemptive suffering of Jesus is also a gift from God, because it gives us the opportunity to reflect on this reality and we are grateful indeed to the Holy Father, who made this choice.

Q. - Is this to place particular focus on the family at this current moment in time? Or perhaps a recognition of the maturity of the laity and married couples in the expression of our faith?

Danilo: “I would say both. Certainly there is a particular focus of the Church at many levels, all over the world, with regard to the family. And the family has become more conscious of being Church and having more responsibilities towards society: just think of the education of children. There has been interest in this theme on several occasions: I remember that, when he was elected Pope John Paul II established the Pontifical Council for the Family. He questioned us, and called a group of lay people from all over the world to hear about the reality and what needed to be done. He was committed to seeing the role of the family appreciated both in the Church and in society. Moreover, he even established a synod on the family, as soon as he was elected Pope. The result of this Synod was his famous encyclical "Familiaris consortio", which on a global level is the most eloquent and most comprehensive treaty for the family which still today is inspiring many movements for the family, including our own. Benedict XVI has called us once again and is interested in our work, and in continuing the work for the family that John Paul II had begun”.