Cardinal Pell speaks on challenges facing the family
(Vatican Radio) At a pro-family conference on the eve of Italy’s March for Life, speakers from around the world gathered in Rome to discuss strategies for promoting the Church’s teaching on life, marriage, and the family.
The Conference was organized by a coalition of pro-life and pro-family groups called Voice of the Family, which is committed to supporting the Bishops during last year’s Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family, and at the General Assembly of the Bishops which will take place in October 2015.
Saturday’s Conference featured a keynote address by Cardinal George Pell, the Prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat of the Economy. Following his speech, Cardinal Pell spoke with Christopher Wells about the challenges facing the family today. The family, he said “is very resilient… but by the same token, I think just about everywhere in the western world its under pressure.” Cardinal Pell spoke of the challenges of fewer people getting married, and fewer people marrying in the Church, and mentioned the issues of abortion and divorce. While there are still many good families, according to many measures, things are much worse than they have been in the past.
Secularization, he said, presents challenges to the Church’s teachings on the family, and makes it “much, much harder” for the Church to present her message. “We are all affected by the world in which we live.” Cardinal Pell emphasized that the challenge for the Church is not simply a question for the clergy. “There are many, many different types of Catholics – there’s the Pope and Bishops and priests. But I think especially in family life, it’s an area for the witness of married, the witness of spouses, of parents, and of their children.”
Asked about how the Church can respond to the challenges to the family, Cardinal Pell said we have to practice what we preach. “We [must] explain the importance of faith. Often we can be very, very understated about the importance of faith, prayer, conversion.” Cardinal Pell said, “The secrets for religious prosperity, lie in the Gospels and in the Catholic tradition. We’ve just got to go to them… And adapting more and more to the society – they’ll all say that’s good, but they won’t join, and it will put us out of business if we do it long enough.”
Listen to Christopher Wells’ interview with Cardinal George Pell: