Sydney, 1. In today's society there is great need to rediscover the meaning and purpose of marriage and the importance of family, says the religious sister who chose the name Sr Giovanni Farquer, Director of the Archdiocese of Sydney's Commission for Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations, regarding the political debate on marriage in Australia.
“The family”, she explained, “is the place where life is received and nurtured as a gift, where children are able to grow into the full knowledge and experience of their own humanity and call to love God and others”. Sr Giovanni Farquer quoted Pope Benedict XVI's who said that “the family founded on marriage, is the 'patrimony of humanity', a fundamental social institution; it is the vital cell and pillar of society and this concerns believers and non-believers alike”.
According to the nun, with the legalization of same-sex marriage at the centre of the Australian political agenda and the ability of same sex couples to legally adopt children, the traditional concept of marriage and the family, and their importance in creating a well-functioning and stable society, are frequently overlooked. “The strength and freedom of our society has been built on the family - upon the faithful and fruitful love of married couples, blessed, encouraged and affirmed by our faiths”, underlined Sr Giovanni, who believes that one of the legacies shared by all three of the great Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Islam and Christianity is the enduring meaning and nature of marriage and the family. “Marriage as a union between a man and a woman”, she stated, “is a natural and deeply human truth, but one which is more richly understood in the light of faith”.