"The family is the natural centre of human life and society" and "we are concerned about the crisis in the family in many countries." This was written by Pope Francis and the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill in the joint statement signed on Friday, February 12th, in Cuba.
"Orthodox and Catholics—reads the document—share the same conception of the family, and are called to witness that it is a path of holiness, testifying to the faithfulness of the spouses in their mutual interaction, to their openness to the procreation and rearing of their children, to solidarity between the generations and to respect for the weakest."
So the family, we go on to read, "is based on marriage, an act of freely given and faithful love between a man and a woman. It is love that seals their union and teaches them to accept one another as a gift. Marriage is a school of love and faithfulness. We regret that other forms of cohabitation have been placed on the same level as this union, while the concept, consecrated in the biblical tradition, of paternity and maternity as the distinct vocation of man and woman in marriage is being banished from the public conscience."
Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill call "to respect the inalienable right to life. Millions are denied the very right to be born into the world" and "the emergence of so-called euthanasia leads elderly people and the disabled begin to feel that they are a burden on their families and on society in general." Both also admit their concern over "the development of biomedical reproduction technology, as the manipulation of human life represents an attack on the foundations of human existence, created in the image of God. We believe—they conclude—that it is our duty to recall the immutability of Christian moral principles, based on respect for the dignity of the individual called into being according to the Creator's plan."