"The New Evangelisation": the family

2012-10-12 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) During his homily at Holy Mass to mark the beginning of the 13th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for "the New Evangelisation" taking place in the Vatican this month of October, Pope Benedict XVI focused on issues pertaining to the family in today's secular society.

In an interview with Veronica Scarisbrick , the Under Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation Monsignor Graham Bell answers a question focusing precisely on the role of the family in this quest to set the embers of our faith on fire :

Q: The guidelines for the Synod or "Lineamenta" shine the spoltight on different areas of interest beginning with the role of the family and what it has to contribute.The President of your Council , Archbishop Rino Fisichella has told Vatican Radio that particular attention will be paid to its' role which quoting him " obviously must take first place". A challenging prospect in today's secular society,no ?

A: Archbishop Fisichella is right to underline the importance of the family, especially in today's secular society. The importance of the family in regard to " the New Evangelisation", stems from the fact that the family is the principal link in the chain of transmission of the faith. It is parents who bring ther children to Church to be baptised, and it is parents who by their teaching and example are responsible for bringing their children to maturity in the faith. Parishes and Catholic schools have a very important role to play too, but they cannot substitute the family as the primary environment of evangelisation.

Unfortunately, in much of Western society the chain of transmission of faith has been severely weakened or even broken. A renewed empashisis on the family, based on the Church's teaching, is a vital part of the New Evangelisation.

I would like to add that in today's context, in which families often have both husband and wife who are working, or there are often situations in which parents are separated or divorced, the role of Catholic grandparents takes on a whole new dimension. I was very interested to discover recently that in Ireland there exists an association, the Catholic Grandparents Association, which aims to remind grandparents that they have a very important role to play in today in the Christian formation of their grandchildren.