24 August 2018
World Meeting of Families
Card. Farrell, “Today, many ideologies are contrary to the Christian vision. Come and see”
In the face of the “many opinions and ideologies contrary to the Christian vision of the family,” the only valid argument is the “factum,” that is the reality of “serenity, inner joy, and personal security that the family gives.” Card. Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, said this in his homily during this afternoon’s Mass at the conclusion of the Pastoral Congress at the Dublin World Meeting of Families, which will continue until 26 August.
In his reflection on the theme “The Family: Hope for the Church and for the World,” the cardinal compares Nathanael’s skepticism—“Can anything good come from Nazareth?”—to that of those who, today, despise the family. “Come and see” is Farrell’s reply, in reference to Philip’s response to Nathanael: “this is Pope Francis’ invitation to the whole world in Amoris Laetitia, the invitation that the Dublin World Meeting of Families addresses to all.” Today, observes the Dicastery’s Prefect, many people “no longer have a direct experience of a Christian family. They may have difficult stories of the loss of love, separation, loneliness, abandonment that can feed different prejudices against the family. These people really need to come and see.” The economic, social, and political system “often uses and exploits us, without taking us into account,” he adds, while in the family, “we have those simple but fundamental relationships between spouses, parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren” that “is a source of great happiness and mutual enrichment.” The possibility of making one’s spouse happy, of being the educator of one’s children, of being able “to console, encourage, correct, and guide,” in short, of “being able to make others happy” is—according to Card. Kevin Farrell—a reason for “great personal satisfaction and in no way an obstacle to my happiness.”
In the homily of the final Mass of the Pastoral Congress at the World Meeting of Families, underway in Dublin until August 26, Farrell affirms that the family is “a guarantee of great physical and mental wellbeing.” There, the “sick and more fragile members receive assistance and loving care.” As in the case of Jesus in Nazareth, “the family ensures adequate human development” and forms to collaboration, sacrifice, compassion, and kindness. Within the family, one receives “the best preparation for marriage.” When a man and a woman start a new family, “they come to understand that they are called to participate in God’s work of creation.” They “discover that by giving life they cooperate with God” and “become, for their children, a reflection of the gratuitous love of God the Father.” In the family, children receive religious education; there, they learn to pray because “faith is transmitted in the context of personal relationships, in a climate of affection and mutual trust.” The family, concludes Farrell, “is really a great gift of God to humanity, and it is joy for the world.”