"In Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families, during my journey to Sri Lanka and to the Philippines and more recently with the Synod of Bishops, I reaffirmed the centrality of the family, which is the first and most important school of mercy, in which we learn to see God's loving face and to mature and develop as human beings."
The family, always foremost in the thoughts of Pope Francis, was given special attention on January 11 in the speech he addressed to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See for the traditional exchange of New Years Greetings. "Sadly—said the Holy Father, quoting a speech pronounced in Manila—we recognize the numerous challenges presently facing families, 'threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage by relativism, by the culture of the ephemeral, by a lack of openness to life.' Today—he continued reconnecting to what he said during his journey to Ecuador—there is a widespread fear of the definitive commitment demanded by the family; those who pay the price are the young, who are often vulnerable and uncertain, and the elderly, who end up being neglected and abandoned. On the contrary, 'out of the family's experience of fraternity is born solidarity in society,' which instils in us a sense of responsibility for others. This is possible—the Pope finally added—only if, in our homes and our societies, we refuse to allow weariness and resentment to take root, but instead make way for dialogue, which is the best antidote to the widespread individualism in today's culture."