24 August 2018
Dublin: Francesco Belletti

Associations Promote the Gospel of the Family

The family is the first and most powerful remedy against one of contemporary man’s worst “diseases,” but if it remains alone and closed, it generates more solitude

The former president of the Italian Forum of Family Associations (47 associations, 18 regional Forums in turn composed of 564 associations, with an estimated total of four million families involving a total of 12 million people), Prof. Francesco Belletti, spoke during the panel session on “Promoting the Gospel of the Family: The Role of Family Associations Today,” going straight to the heart of the matter: “The family is the first and most powerful remedy against one of the worst ‘diseases’ of contemporary man: solitude.” Associated families generate a common good, adding value to the social capital of a community, “especially through their construction as an aggregative subject, in associations and networks that become interlocutors for all the other social actors and for the ecclesial community.” A formidable social resource, “associated families can become collective social actors, who begin to have a voice, who come together to ‘produce more family’ (services, relationships, experiences of sharing, as well as mutual and self-help), but also to count more, to organize, to lobby, pressure, and protest.” An indispensable task and a pastoral challenge consist in helping each family to find “traveling companions”: “a recent perspective of development is the emergence of new, smaller forms of connection between families that more directly connected to a specific territory, with ‘short’ and ‘warm’ relations, always strongly intertwined with the concrete needs of everyday life.”

If the relational quality seems to count more than social recognition, Prof. Belletti asks: “how can the vast majority of families, who remain without outside connections, be reached?” A first answer is found in the words of Amoris Laetitia (no. 184): “By their witness as well as their words, families speak to others of Jesus. They pass on the faith, they arouse a desire for God, and they reflect the beauty of the Gospel and its way of life.”