"Each person and every family have in themselves a force, a potential that no tyranny can eradicate or silence; not even poverty, social exclusion, or poverty will stifle it. The 'power of the poor'—that is, of those who do not idolize gain and consumption, but rather believe in love—is incredible. The words and actions of so many families, which have become testimonies to love, manifest the strength to change even society itself."
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, wished to address these words of encouragement to all the world’s families—be they Christian or not, rich and poor—during the international seminar organized by his Dicastery and Caritas Internationalis, under the title "The Family: A Resource to Overcome the Crisis", on Thursday, September 18th, in the Palazzo San Calisto, Rome. The President of Caritas Internationalis, Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, also present at this meeting, wanted it to be an opportunity for pastoral reflection in view of the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod, and its proposals—emerged in the course of the reports, testimonies and discussion—will be submitted to the Synod Fathers in the coming weeks. The main purpose of this conference was to turn our attention to the realities of families of our time who are living in precarious situations, and so to better grasp what the Gospel can tell them.
For Msgr. Paglia, the aspect of love and reciprocity lived in communion is crucial, so much that in his intervention he emphasized that, in order to cope in the midst of the crisis, "it is essential to build aggregative social subjects (such as associations, families together). That is to say, families can unite with other families and do their best within the society, we could say by 'becoming stronger as families in society'. The associated families—said the President of the PCF—can constitute the social collectives capable of helping one another (through services, relationships, sharing experiences and mutual assistance, joint purchasing groups) and so have a greater say and more weight in the construction of a society better adapted to the family."
Cardinal Maradiaga noted in his report that, in fact, today "the impact of poverty has repercussions and amplifies, when the crisis enters into the life of 'wounded' families, who are experiencing the fragility of relationships and fractures—sometimes with different forms of re-composition—in their own family cells. In this case, economic poverty, social vulnerability, and the fragility of feelings create a descending spiral that threatens to erode the family and isolate people, especially children, from the rest of the community."