Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Pope Francis: The Family is Key to Our Environment

environment, family, Laudato Si, Pope Francis No comments

Marriage and family are the necessary foundations of the road towards a sound ecology and away from environmental degradation, contends Pope Francis in his recent encyclical Laudato Si.

Quick verification test: What major nation is the most abusive of the environment and of children? China, by far on both counts.

In Laudato Si Pope Francis indicates that only by protecting the family, the first environment every child encounters, will society experience effectual progress:

I would stress the great importance of the family, which is “the place in which life—the gift of God—can be properly welcomed and protected against the many attacks to which it is exposed, and can develop in accordance with what constitutes authentic human growth. In the face of the so-called culture of death, the family is the heart of the culture of life.” In the family we first learn how to show love and respect for life; we are taught the proper use of things, order and cleanliness, respect for the local ecosystem and care for all creatures. In the family we receive an integral education, which enables us to grow harmoniously in personal maturity. In the family we learn to ask without demanding, to say “thank you” as an expression of genuine gratitude for what we have been given, to control our aggressivity and greed, and to ask forgiveness when we have caused harm. These simple gestures of heartfelt courtesy help to create a culture of shared life and respect for our surroundings. (Paragraph 213)

Pope Francis contends that man’s hardened heart, and the society it has produced, has profoundly damaged the environment. While Francis grapples with ecological issues, he primarily laments the decrepit human environment wrought with selfishness, insensitivity, self-gratification, and irreligiosity. As MARRI research has found on so many non-environmental issues such as the economy and health, environmental reform must first address the foundation of all human interaction, the family, “the basic cell of society,” (paragraph 157).

In society today, premarital sex, divorce, and cohabitation have massively depleted our human ecology. In the United States, only 46% of 15- to 17-year-olds have been raised by their married biological parents, and only 17% of black 15- to 17-year-olds have always lived with their married mother and father. At a vulnerable age when children should learn forgiveness, self-control, and love of neighbor, they instead experience rejection from their very own parents.

Although the majority of single and divorced parents selflessly dedicate their lives to ensuring that their children are guided by love of God, love of God’s law, and love of God’s creation, the average child raised in a broken family is deprived of the gifts of life in some way.  Slowly but increasingly, recent generations have been made “wound-bearers” by their parents and have to fend for themselves in ways not meant for children.  They are being hardened to life and to their surroundings.

But there is hope. A revival of the intact married family will imbue children with the love and care that all children ought to receive in order to reflect it back onto their environment. MARRI data shows that children raised in intact families are more social, exhibit less aggression, and practice better self-control than those in non-intact families, all necessary for salvaging the biological environment.

Pope Francis Affirms the Value of Traditional Marriage

children, Humanum conference, marriage, Pope Francis No comments


Anyone questioning Pope Francis’ stance on the value of traditional marriage can put all doubts to rest. In the ongoing International Colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman, Pope Francis reiterated what amounts to a public doctrine on marriage: “The family grounded in marriage is the first school where we learn to appreciate our own and others’ gifts, and where we begin to acquire the arts of cooperative living.”

The family unit, bound by the union of a husband and his wife, is no simplistic element. It is an exceptional unification that conjoins the complementary but diverse gifts of a man and woman. “Complementarity will take many forms as each man and woman brings his or her distinctive contributions to their marriage and to the formation of their children — his or her personal richness, personal charisma,” Pope Francis said. “Complementarity becomes a great wealth. It is not just a good thing but it is also beautiful.”

However, as MARRI research confirms, commitment to marriage is slowly fading. “Evidence is mounting that the decline of the marriage culture is associated with increased poverty and a host of other social ills, disproportionately affecting women, children and the elderly” Pope Francis said. It is indisputably true that marriage is fundamental for a prosperous society. Marriage promotes education, builds wealth, supports health, decreases crime, reduces poverty, and discourages government dependency.

But the benefits of marriage transcend the material. As Francis said, “The family is the foundation of co-existence and a remedy against social fragmentation.” The intact married family, and all of its associated benefits, are necessary for every child to freely grow to their fullest potential. The married intact family is, in essence, a fundamental human right for every child. 

Pope Francis’ public doctrine on marriage—though sideswiped by the mainstream media—is no trivial declaration. It is a logical examination of the social science outcomes of marriage, and a commonsense reaction that some politicians have failed to recognize.

The Truth of Marriage: A Lesson from the Humanum Conference in Rome

Humanum conference, marriage, Pope Francis, Rick Warren No comments


In his Tuesday presentation at the International Colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman, evangelical pastor Rev. Dr. Rick Warren reiterated a vital fact that has been lost in the marriage debate: the fundamental good of the family is a timeless truth impenetrable by society’s transient whims. 
As it stands, the good of marriage—and the family it conceives—is obscured by deceiving rhetoric like “love is love,” “equality,” and “bigotry.” Opponents to traditional marriage label it as an antiquated religious concept that is over and done. But Pastor Warren has one lesson for them: “Truths don’t stop being truths just because they become unpopular.”
The truth is that marriage continues to produce as many benefits as ever. As the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI) shows, marriage promotes health, increases education, expands wealth, reduces poverty, decreases crime, and discourages government dependency. Its benefits are not only far-reaching, but also long-lasting.
The immutable good of marriage is rooted in the creation of the world when God made male and female. As such, it is engrained in natural law. Only in the sexual act can man and woman populate the world; only within marriage will the sexual act produce a stable society. Society has tried to change this. It has conspired to divorce sexuality from marriage and children from sexuality through man-made constructs like contraception and safe sex. But these attempts have failed and will continue to fail because they contradict the ordered world. As Pastor Warren said, “There’s no such thing as ‘safe sex’ because they don’t make a condom that can fix a broken heart.”
Simply put, the marriage debate is a battle between truths and untruths. Anything that contradicts natural law is an untruth. Although political correctness, popular fads, and social constructionists have tried to debunk the binary notions of truths and falsehoods, right and wrong, good and evil, there is no escaping God’s word. It is time we heed Pastor Warren’s call to action to defend these truths. It is time we accept that the family is, as Pope Francis said, “a strength per se.”